SHIGA (TR) – Shiga Prefectural Police on Wednesday arrested a 36-year-old man for allegedly lacing cigarettes used by a male acquaintance with mercury in an attempt to kill him, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Jan. 10).
On June 3 of last year, Takashi Miyawaki, a resident of Otsu City, allegedly gave a pack of 20 heat-not-burn cigarettes to the acquaintance, 37, on a street in Ritto City.
After the man smoked 14 cigarettes, he was taken to a hospital on June 4 due to such symptoms as headaches and slurred speech. Traces of mercury were later found in urine and blood samples of the victim. The non-smoked cigarettes also were found to contain the toxic chemical element, police said.
Miyawaki, who has been accused of attempted murder, admits to the allegations, telling police that he laced each cigarette with between 0.3 and 0.5 grams of mercury.
Heated-and-burn cigarettes contain nicotine but do not release release smoke. Police believe that Miyawaki somehow injected the mercury into each of the cigarettes without disturbing the packaging.
Miyawaki met the victim through a mutual acquaintance. The suspect told police that they experienced a problem related to money, according to Mainichi Broadcasting System (Jan. 11).