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Lehigh University International Student Poisons Roommate, Tries to Flee Country

The international student was also charged with ethnic intimidation in April.

Law enforcement officials say that an international student from China who formerly attended Lehigh University tried to get himself deported so he could avoid being prosecuted for poisoning his roommate.

Yukai Yang, 22, was arrested Dec. 20 for allegedly putting thallium in his roommate’s food and drinks, reports ABC News. Thallium was used in rat poison until the 1970s when it was banned.

Yang’s alleged plot to slowly and discreetly kill his roommate unraveled when the victim began to vomit, shake and feel dizzy and took himself to the hospital. While there, the victim tested positive for thallium. The victim has since graduated but is still experiencing symptoms of his poisoning.

Yang, a chemistry major, has admitted to buying the drug online but said he planned on poisoning himself if he didn’t do well on exams, reports WFMZ.

Yang was charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment.

Police say Yang attempted to evade prosecution by posting bail and then flying home to China. Prosecutors are now asking the judge to hold him without bail.

In April, Yang was charged with ethnic intimidation, institutional vandalism and criminal mischief, reports Lehigh Valley Live. Police say he scrawled racist graffiti in his dorm room as well as damaged his roommate’s TV, bed and desk.

Authorities compared the graffiti to Yang’s written statement and determined that Yang was the perpetrator.

Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli described the case as being “weird and bizarre,” reports the Washington Post. Yang’s victim, who is African American, was dumbfounded by the case because he thought he had a cordial relationship with Yang.

About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray
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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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