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Firm loses potassium cyanide equivalent to 2,500 lethal doses

38 Comments

A company in Nasushiobara, Tochigi Prefecture, has lost 500 grams of potassium cyanide, police said.

The industrial plating company, Tanaka Plating Co, reported the loss to police on Thursday, Fuji TV reported. According to police, the potassium cyanide was being stored in a plastic container.

A company spokesperson told police that 15 containers of the colorless crystalline compound, similar in appearance to sugar, are stored in a locked storehouse on its premises. The loss was discovered after a stock check on Jan 31 revealed that one of the containers was missing, Fuji reported.

Police say the potassium cyanide stored in the missing container is enough to kill 2,500 people.

The company spokesperson said that the key to the storehouse is kept in an office, but added that access to the office is not restricted, Fuji TV reported.

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38 Comments
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Misleading headline, should read stolen Not lost.

There is some nut case with murderous intent running round with enough cyanide to kill a small town. and its described as a simple loss. hahahaha

10 ( +11 / -2 )

Very scary stuff.

While I do agree that the chemical should be stored in a locked room, why are the keys in a free-for-all room?

And, no security cameras installed in the storeroom?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Who wants to place bets about what kind of 'punishment' the company gets? I wager, at BEST, we'll see an old codger 'retire' to take responsibility. I would even wager that police will state that by law this kind of chemical must be kept in a secure area, but follow it with some stupid loophole like, "whether the area is actually LOCKED or not is up to the individual company".

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Let's all hope that that Aum splinter group didn't get their hands on it... What is with Japanese firms and criminal negligence?! What's the point of locking it up when anyone has access to the key?! "Oops, we lost it" just doesn't cut it!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@HansNFranz

The smell of bitter almonds is discussed on the following page:

http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/viewthread.php?tid=14536

I think the conclusion was pretty much that it smells like almonds or marzipan or perhaps maraschino cherries. I personally think they smell like Amaretto minus the alcohol.

The whole thing is also complicated by the fact that not all people have the gene necessary to detect the smell and to those people I guess it would smell like normal almonds(?)

Finally as a humorous side note the funniest bitter almond description from the page above:

bitter almonds are almonds whose lovers have broken up with them via txt message.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Stolen!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Saw this on the news last night.

potassium cyanide was written on the bottle in large letters. Someone does not like someone. Mass murder can occur with this stuff. Could easily be dropped into a big vat of curry at a festival, like that lady did years back.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Lets see if l have this right, this company has 15 containers (7.5 kg) of this highly deadly chemical in a locked storehouse yet they have the keys to this room holding this deadly chemical in an unsecured office where pretty much anyone can access it. Well there is one stupid procedure that should lead to charges all on its own even if the chemicals are just "lost". What sort of idiots go to the trouble of securing a deadly chemical in a locked room then leave the keys around for anyone to get hold of. Also when was the "theft"? When was the last stocktake done? A day, a week, a month or a year ago.....

Personally l wouldnt hold my breathe that the J police will solve this one as they couldnt even find their own shadow on a sunny day. Besides there are dangerous cyclists and evil gaijin to harass.

2 ( +6 / -5 )

"Not an immediate health hazard..."

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Something gravely wrong with this company!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

They'll find it again in 40 years under the floor of an old house...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Hold all your ideas of how the killer drug could be used !! We dont want them to get ideas.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Coming to a supermarket near you soon! This is serious! Hope the flops are onto this!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I hope this sick criminal is arrested before anyone is killed by these chemicals!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@deepstar6

Hold all your ideas of how the killer drug could be used !! We dont want them to get ideas.

Didn't notice this at first, you might have a point. But I guess if you steal something like this, then you already have a plan for it.

Anyway I will leave to the discretion of the Moderators to remove or redact previous posts, if they feel that it is called for. But I guess if the very worst were to happen, then the tidbit about evacuating if you smell bitter almonds could help someone.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yep, this is serious... big time. This would be considered a terror threat in the US. Cops... snoop around online for anyone trying to sell this stuff.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There is also a another possible motive explained here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyanide_fishing

"Cyanide fishing is a method of collecting live fish mainly for use in aquariums, which involves spraying a sodium cyanide mixture into the desired fish's habitat in order to stun the fish"

Nasty stuff that has destroyed the corals at many good dive spots. Sodium Cyanide is usually used, but I guess potassium cyanide would work as well.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

start traveling with a mask from now on, just in case!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Lost?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

might want to consider restricting access to the office with the keys to the potassium cyanide !!!!!!! er.....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Cyanide - CN ... in what ever combination ... be it Sodium, Potassium ... are all water soluble ... just the same ! ... In Malaysia, Sodium Cyanide ( NaCN ) is used in gold mining along with other chemicals ... authorities are turning ' a blind eye ' and usual response ... ' Everything ok, Very Safe ' ... Now the question is ... How Safe Is Safe !? Well, CYANIDE is cyanide ... whatever name is given ... it is VERY DEADLY CHEMICAL ... visit ... Stop Cyanide Mining - Raub, Pahang ... Bukit Koman ... http://bancyanide.blogspot.com

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Oh my God! You can bet someone pinching vials of potassium cyanide is not doing it simply for a laugh. That is scary. Some nutjob is running around with vials of lethal chemical somewhere right now.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

In fact regarding alternative c. ( And I did not know this when I wrote previous post)

Wikipedia article about cyanide poisoning, section Terrorism:

In 1995, a device was discovered in a restroom in the Kayabacho Tokyo subway station, consisting of bags of sodium cyanide and sulfuric acid with a remote controlled motor to rupture them in what was believed to be an attempt by the Aum Shinrikyo cult to produce toxic amounts of hydrogen cyanide gas.[27]

In 2003, Al Qaeda reportedly planned to release cyanide gas into the New York City Subway system. The attack was reportedly aborted because there would not be enough casualties.[28]

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why don't you think about other uses of this stuff other than killing people... Readers be little more positive... I think, he want something else and he got it already.. so no risk anymore.!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@SquidBert

I suspect the cyanide thief will ever read posts in JT. Also I am sure you posted with good intentions in mind. I just wanted to hold on the brilliant ideas that will flow one after the other on how lethally the chemical could be used for mass murder. It is always good to know if you read and prevent but a 100 times bad if one reads and performs the crime.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"If you smell bitter almonds, run!" @SquidBert: What's that smell like? Like Meiji Almond Bitter chocolate?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Great. I am sure some nutter has his hands on this and is looking forward to the next attack on the public like the subway attacks. Why are companies allowed to have this stuff just lying around in plastic bottles?? Not restricted access? Than how about not storing it there?! Idiots.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

You really would have hoped after the last terrorist attacks here - albeit with a different type of fatal substance - that authorities would have tightened security of highly dangerous, concentrated substances. The mind boggles as to what type of group/cult may have got their hands on this gear.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The company is not to blame, since when the Potassium leaves the bottle, it is no longer property of the company, and responsibility of any poisonings falls to the victim. Anyway, since 0.2 grams is lethal, it is quite safe to take up to 0.19 grams of the stuff without any immediate health effects. The company feels really bad about it, so they must be compensated with tons of taxpayers money.

In case somebody forgot, TIJ.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Wow.. I live near Nasushiobara city.. This is scary news! :S

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Other possibilities besides stolen are:

used or disposed of properly but someone forgot to update the inventory list

a clerical error and the 15th container never existed.
0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Gonemad,

They'll find it again in 40 years under the floor of an old house...

Yep, and then they will probably use it as an argument to the safety of potassium cyanide that the resident hasn't died from it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't know the results will come down to the type of the person possessing the chemical. Either he is:

a. a good person and is trying to use this to create Prussian Blue, to help rid some poor child of the Cesium in his system.

b. normal but somewhat scatterbrained person and just forgot that he is keeping it in the bottom drawer of his desk.

c. really bad person, and is planning an Aum style attack some where. (Don't even need to drop this in the curry like MaboDofu suggests, this is the stuff used for the gas chambers in Nazi-Germany). If you smell bitter almonds, run!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

so who is responsible for that???

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Cyanide = sayonara ! I do hope that it's not in the hands of some 2012 doom group.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Who moved my cheese?

ALSOK help please !

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Crime or suicide rate may go up slightly but data can get adjusted in next press release. "Safety Japan" unchanged.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

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