Database of radiological incidents and related events--Johnston's Archive

Guangzhou radiological assault, 2002

compiled by Wm. Robert Johnston
last modified 10 July 2022

Date: 11 May-19 July 2002

Location: Guangzhou, P.R. China

Type of event: use of radioactive material in intentional assault on an individual


A Chinese nuclear scientist, Gu Jiming, used radioactive iridium-192 pellets in an attack on a business rival. Gu used forged papers to obtain an industrial machine containing the iridium-192, then with an accomplice placed them above the ceiling panels in the hospital office of the rival. The victim soon reported symptoms including memory loss, fatigue, appetite loss, headaches, vomiting, and bleeding gums. In July at a medical exam the victim's white blood cell count was very low, at which point he made the connection between his symptoms and those of coworkers. He requested a check of his office with radiation detectors which immediately found the sources.

Dose to the primary victim was estimated at 70-150 rad. Another 74 staff members of the hospital also had symptoms (13 moderate and 61 minor), including one pregnant woman who nearly miscarried. Gu was convicted 29 September 2003, given a suspended death sentence (life in prison), and an assistant was sentenced to a 15-year prison term.

Consequences: 75 injuries.


© 2007, 2022 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 10 July 2022.
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