A district court yesterday ordered a Taiwanese man, who is suspected of severing his own hand in China to cash in on insurance money, be released on bail.

A Shilin District Prosecutors’ Office spokesman said that after interrogating suspect Hu Chi-yang, prosecutors decided to recommend that Hu be freed on bail of NT$700,000 (£15,000, $21,000).

Prosecutors said they were convinced Hu could not tamper with witness statements because he did not have any accomplices in the case and they said they felt he was not a flight risk because he has been barred from leaving the country.

However, when Hu said he had no money, prosecutors asked the court that he remain in detention. The court disagreed, ruling that he be released on NT$150,000 (£3,300, $4,000) bail.

Hu’s daughter, Hu Yi-ling, told a press conference on Nov. 8 that half of her father’s left hand was severed during a visit to Putian in Fujian Province, China, on Nov. 4, when three robbers attacked him and took his ring and watch.

However, it was later revealed that Hu bought insurance policies worth NT$31 million (£660,000, $1,000,000) from two insurers in Taiwan before going to China on Nov. 3, and other evidence has since emerged that have raised suspicions that he cut off his hand to collect a hefty insurance payment.

When questioned by the Criminal Investigation Bureau on Monday, Hu said repeatedly “I forget what happened” or “I am not clear” when asked to give details concerning the incident.

However, he insisted that his hand was severed by robbers rather than being self inflicted.

The bureau said the severed hand and the knife that was allegedly used in the incident were still in China. If necessary, it would ask Chinese authorities to provide other evidence under a cross-strait agreement on judicial cooperation, it said.

The Putian Public Security Bureau in Fujian described Hu’s wound on Monday as “self-mutilation,” saying there was no scuffle at the scene, the cut was extremely clean and Hu’s blood collected at the crime scene was found to contain anesthetic.

In addition, the owner of a knife shop is said to have identified Hu as the man who bought the meat cleaver that was retrieved nearby and which was stained with Hu’s blood. At a press conference yesterday, Hu said: “This was absolutely not self-inflicted.”

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