Online gambling addict arrested over fire threat

The man borrowed from a loan shark and ran up an overdraft on his credit cards, saying he had lost about 800,000 yuan (US$121,500).

An online gaming addict has been arrested for arson after threatening to set himself on fire in a bid to cover about 800,000 yuan (US$121,500) in debts from his online losses, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

The suspect surnamed Xu, a Hubei native working in Henan, started playing an online card game in July last year.

He spent more than 700,000 yuan, including a 150,000-yuan overdraft on his credit cards and 200,000 yuan from loan shark, prosecutors said.

To cover his debt, Xu decided to demand money from the computer game company. He drove to Shanghai on August 13, according to the Putuo District People’s Procuratorate.

Next morning, he went to the company’s headquarters and entered the office carrying a hammer and a container of gas.

“I lost 800,000 yuan,” he was heard shouting. “I drove 3,000 kilometers here just hoping to get my money back!”

Seeing no one responded, Xu poured the gas onto his body and took out a lighter, threatening to set himself on fire.

Staff persuaded him to calm down. Police arrived about 10 minutes later and subdued him, prosecutors said.

“I just wanted to scare them,” Xu told police.

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