Frostbite fraud leads to double amputation in insurance scam

To convincingly mimic frostbite, Chang subjected his feet to over 10 hours of exposure to dry ice.

A Taiwanese university student’s extreme attempt to claim NT$41 million (S$1.7 million) in insurance money has ended in tragedy. The student, surnamed Chang, and his accomplice, a former classmate named Liao, engaged in a deceitful plot involving self-inflicted injuries to Chang’s feet using dry ice.

The scheme

Chang meticulously prepared for the fraud by securing multiple insurance policies that covered disabilities and injuries. On 26 January 2023, the duo set out on a motorcycle tour of northern Taipei’s colder regions, including Yangmingshan and Tamsui, aiming to simulate conditions for frostbite.

Double amputation

To convincingly mimic frostbite, Chang subjected his feet to over 10 hours of exposure to dry ice. This dangerous act, encouraged by Liao, resulted in severe injury, leading to Chang’s hospitalisation on 28 January and a subsequent double amputation below the knee on 6 February.

Suspicion and investigation

Chang’s initial success in claiming NT$230,000 from one insurer soon unraveled as discrepancies in his story alerted other insurers, prompting an investigation. Authorities discovered that the alleged frostbite was artificially induced, noting the injuries’ symmetrical nature and the lack of evidence supporting Chang’s story.

Investigators found compelling evidence, including a styrofoam box used for the dry ice and a plastic bucket for the immersion, alongside insurance documents and numerous mobile phones. Further inquiries revealed Liao’s financial motives, rooted in cryptocurrency losses, leading to the orchestration of this elaborate scam.

Legal ramifications

As of 14 March, Taiwanese authorities have announced charges of fraud against both men, with Liao facing additional charges for causing serious injuries. Their ill-gotten gains have been confiscated as part of the legal proceedings.

What do you think?

1.3k Points
Upvote Downvote

Local shopkeeper in South Korea tackles knife attacker

我国网民规模达10.92亿人 互联网普及率达77.5%