Chemical submission to commit robbery: A series of involuntary intoxications with flunitrazepam in Asian travellers in Brussels

Department of Emergency Medicine, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Saint-Pierre, Brussels, Belgium, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). Electronic address: .
Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine (Impact Factor: 0.76). 10/2013; 20(7):918-921. DOI: 10.1016/j.jflm.2013.06.017
Source: PubMed


Between January 17, 2003 and August 29, 2003, the Emergency Department admitted a patient who had been surreptitiously intoxicated and robbed of his valuables every Friday. The first cases were considered anecdotal, but criminal activity was rapidly suspected. The cohort includes 16 male Asian patients aged 28-50 years. All the victims had just arrived in Brussels through one of the main rail station of the town and were admitted via the emergency ambulance service from different locations in the centre of Brussels around the CHU Saint-Pierre Hospital. Haemodynamic parameters upon admission were within normal limits. The Glasgow Coma Scale was equal or higher than 9/15 in 14 of the 16 victims. Toxicology screening obtained in 12 patients revealed the presence of flunitrazepam, which was further quantified at levels ranging from 21 to 75 μg/l. One of the Japanese patients, who returned to Belgium afterwards for professional reasons, was approached by the police and accepted to press charges. This allowed the police to investigate and send undercover agents to the railway station on Friday afternoons and evenings. They found a person who was offering welcome cookies to Asian travellers. He arrived from Amsterdam and returned once his crime was committed. Flunitrazepam is well known as a rape drug. We report a series of victims in whom flunitrazepam was used to facilitate robbery.

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