Vietnamese Australian woman arrested over strawberry needle scare

By AFP   November 12, 2018 | 08:50 am GMT+7
Vietnamese Australian woman arrested over strawberry needle scare
Farmers like Aidan Young were forced to destroy tons of strawberries over the needle scare. Photo by AFP

A woman has been arrested after a "complex" investigation into an Australian strawberry scare where needles were found stuck into the fruit.

Police said Sunday the incident has sparked nationwide panic.

Queensland state authorities offered a large reward and the national government raised jail terms for such crimes after sewing needles were found in plastic boxes of the fruit sold in supermarkets in September.

Since the first case came to light when a man was taken to hospital with stomach pains after consuming strawberries, more than 100 alleged incidents of pins and needles found in fruit, mostly strawberries, were reported in September around the country.

One incident was also reported in neighboring New Zealand.

Police said a 50-year-old woman was arrested on Sunday afternoon "following a complex and extensive investigation" into the contamination case.

My Ut Trinh was arrested in relation to the strawberry needle incidents in Queensland. Photo courtesy of News Corp Australia

My Ut Trinh was arrested in relation to the strawberry needle incidents in Queensland. Photo courtesy of News Corp Australia

The suspect was identified as My Ut Trinh, who is from Caboolture in Brisbane's north, at a property in Forest Lake yesterday afternoon.

"The Queensland Police Service coordinated a national investigative response with multiple government, law enforcement and intelligence agencies," they added in a statement.

The woman was set to be charged Sunday evening and appear in court in Brisbane on Monday.

Police did not reveal any further details, including what the charges would be or the reasons and motives behind her alleged involvement.

The sabotage crisis led supermarkets to pull the fruit from the shelves and saw farmers dump tons of the unwanted berry. The government raised the maximum prison sentence for fruit tampering from 10 to 15 years.

 
 
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