Debt Collectors Attacked Restaurant with Cockroaches. They Didn’t Know Cops Were Eating There.

“They did not know who was attending the banquet, so they regretted it a lot,” a police chief said.
May 6, 2021, 12:10pm
Taiwan cockroach restaurant attack
A gang unleashed hundreds of cockroaches at a restaurant to intimidate its owner. Photo: WANG ZHAO / AFP

A gang of debt collectors were arrested in Taiwan’s capital city for unleashing hundreds of cockroaches at a restaurant to intimidate its owner—just as police were throwing a dinner party there.

The bug barrage took place on Monday evening. Surveillance camera footage shows two men running away from the restaurant, leaving what appeared to be hundreds of cockroaches at the reception.

To the assailants’ surprise, the restaurant was hosting a 700-guest police banquet at the time they released the insects. Taipei’s police chief, Chen Jia-chang, said he arrived at the restaurant right after the attack, and was puzzled by all the cockroaches on the floor.

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Police arrested five people the next day after investigating overnight, police said at a press conference on Wednesday, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency. Two of the men arrested were responsible for releasing the cockroaches, while the two other men and an underaged woman were in charge of filming and driving.

“They did not know who was attending the banquet, so they regretted it a lot,” Hsu Sung-chia, the head of Zhongshan police department in Taipei, told reporters. “They have said things like ‘we are doomed’ and ‘now it’s messed up.’”

Police said the gang were hired by another accomplice, who remained at large, to demand the restaurant return more than 15 million New Taiwan dollars ($540,000) in debt. 

They bought three bags of cockroaches from an aquarium for about $360, but one bag broke on the way and the insects got out prematurely. 

The four adult suspects, accused of using violence and threats to coerce others, were brought to the court on Thursday morning. Three of them were released on bail while one has been reprimanded.

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