Queensland student rat poisoned ‘by friend’ in Taiwan

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A young Australian uni student’s girlfriend in Taiwan is reportedly being investigated by police over suspicions she may have deliberately poisoned him with a powerful rat killer.

Queensland student Alex Shorey was flown back to Australia this week after more than $200,000 was raised to have him medically evacuated from Taiwan.

The 24-year-old was just weeks away from flying home following a year-long exchange in the East Asian country when he became critically ill following a suspected poisoning at the end of March.

It was initially suspected street food contamination was to blame, but the theory was quickly dismissed based on the volume of poison he would have needed to ingest to experience such severe symptoms.

Police now appear to be investigating whether he was deliberately poisoned by his Taiwanese friend.

Alex Shorey may have been deliberately poisoned.Alex Shorey may have been deliberately poisoned.Police are investigating a female friend.Police are investigating a female friend.

A Taipei City Police on Wednesday said officers had “searched the home of a female friend and found relevant evidence”, ABC reported.

“Police questioned this female friend on Thursday and restricted her from leaving Taiwan,” a spokesman said.

They added the woman was the sole suspect being investigated.

Local media have claimed rat poison was found at the home of the suspect, who was reported to be Mr Shorey’s 45-year-old girlfriend.

His dad was, according to ABC, informed of Taipei Police’s criminal investigation before he accompanied his son for his flight back to Australia on Wednesday.

Mr Shorey’s ordeal began early last month when he woke up one morning covered in blood.

His condition continued to worsen over several days, and he made multiple trips to the hospital before being rushed to the ICU.

Mr Shorey arrived back in Australia on a Medical extraction flight this week. Picture: David ClarkMr Shorey arrived back in Australia on a Medical extraction flight this week. Picture: David Clark

His dad, Stephen Shorey, told him to seek medical attention after noticing blood in his urine.

Mr Shorey arrived at Taipei Medical University Hospital with terrible abdominal pain and nausea. He went into hypovolaemic shock, and his condition deteriorated rapidly.

His family revealed he was “bleeding heavily from the nose … bleeding into his muscles and into his joints,” and his lungs were filled with fluid.

He then suffered a severe allergic reaction to a vitamin K treatment, resulting in cardiorespiratory collapse six days later.

Lizzy Shorey-Kitson, his aunt, confirmed he suffered haemorrhaging and a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction to treatment in the hospital.

The family also claimed a language barrier initially prevented him from getting the right treatment, and he was in and out of the hospital after Good Friday before being finally admitted to the ICU.

Mr Shorey is continuing treatment at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital.Mr Shorey is continuing treatment at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital.

The delays in treatment resulted in severe organ damage, respiratory failure, and anaemia. Ms Shorey-Kitson launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise more than $170,000 needed to fly Alex back to Australia for urgent medical treatment.

The campaign was a resounding success, with nearly 3000 people donating to the fund, raising a total of $208,682 for his medevac.

Mr Shorey’s parents and brother expressed their gratitude to those who donated, saying they were humbled by the messages of support.

“We have attempted three flights over the past few weeks, each one of them cancelled as Alex’s condition deteriorated further just prior to departure as the poison worked through his body, causing further complications,” they wrote in an update.

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“So to have the reassurance that we can now fund the medical support and specialised medical retrieval services he needs is utterly amazing.”

They remain hopeful he will make a full recovery.

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