By Shannon Najmabadi
Image credit: @peoplezchronicles.
According to the Shanghai Daily, “petty arguments” and “family background jokes” may have motivated a Fudan medical student to poison his roommate earlier this month.
On April 1, Huang Yang fell ill after he drank from a water dispenser in his dorm. By April 16, he was dead, following organ failure caused by poisoning.
At the time, Xinhua posited that Huang’s roommate, another postgraduate student identified as Lin, carried out the poisoning that left Huang – a 28 year old third-year student – dead.
Lin confirmed this last week, admitting he had poisoned his roommate and telling police that he had stolen chemicals from Fudan University’s lab and injected them into the water dispenser around noon on March 31.
On Thursday, local prosecutors approved the arrest of Lin on murder charges.
While he admitted to poisoning his roommate, Lin gave a very feeble reason for doing so, suggesting that it was an April Fool’s Day joke. Investigators have largely discounted this motive.
Instead, the Shanghai Daily pegged a long-standing “grudge” as a more likely motive – citing a long string of disputes between the roommates, one of which culminated with Lin and Huang deleting each other off online chatting platform QQ.
Lin’s classmates speculated that Huang might have mocked Lin over his family background, labeling him a “Phoenix man” – a derogatory snide at people who toil or study diligently for years to get rid of their poor family background.
This grudge may have come to a head when the roommates quarreled over payment of the water dispenser – a squabble that may have pushed Lin to abandon cyber deletion in favor of physical retaliation.
A report in the Southern Weekend newspaper claims that Huang and Ge Lin, another roommate, suggested splitting payment of the water dispenser equally. Lin disagreed with them, claiming that he drank less from the container. Lin ended up buying the water dispenser on March 31, the same day he poisoned it, according to police.
Oddly, both Huang and Lin continued to behave normally post-poisoning:
[What] surprised many was that even after poisoning Huang, Lin continued to carry on with his work calmly. Even Huang’s father, who came to Shanghai to be with his sick son on April 3, did not suspect Lin.
Lin actually did the ultrasound examination on Huang at Zhongshan Hospital where he was being treated. Even as Huang’s condition deteriorated, Lin was discussing his essays with his classmates as if nothing had happened.