Singapore A*STAR Scholar Arrested for Poisoning Stanford University Schoolmates

A*STAR scholar Ouyang Xiangyu has been arrested and charged for allegedly poisoning herself and her lab mates at Standford University in California.

She is accused of putting paraformaldehyde (PFA) in her drinking water as well as into her classmates’ water bottles.

Ouyang is now out on bail but not allowed to leave the country.

She is expected to plead not guilty due to insanity.

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) says it is “deeply concerned” over the incident.

Ouyang received her A*STAR’s National Science Scholarship (PhD) in 2013.

This, after her outstanding performance in her undergraduate studies at Imperial College London.

The former Temasek Junior College student, who was originally from China, was expected to complete her PhD studies by 2018 and return to Singapore to complete her five-year bond.

Court documents indicate that hings started going wrong for Ouyang in August 2014.

Then, she allegedly sabotaged a lab mate’s experiment.

In Semptember 2014,  two Asian female graduate student researchers working in the same lab also began finding something wrong with the water in their bottles.

They complained of burning sensations in their throats after drinking the water.

The students noted that the water smelt of paraformaldehyde.

That chemical is used to preserve tissue samples and was readily available in the laboratory.

Police questioned Ouyang in November 2014, and she admitted to adding chemicals to at least 2 bottles that didn’t belong to her.

The quiet and shy girl claimed she had been suffering from insomnia and dizziness, and had sought help from a psychiatrist.

She insisted she never had any intention of harming anyone.

She also said that she had little control over her actions, and that they were a “cry for help”.

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