Chinese man fails breathalyser on eating durian fruit

Durian in a Chinese police investigation Image copyright Pear Video
Image caption This much durian – “the world’s stinkiest fruit” – made a Chinese police officer fail a breathalyser

A man in China has failed an on-the-spot breathalyser test after eating too much durian fruit.

According to Chinese video website Pear Video, an unnamed man in Rudong county, in the eastern province of Jiangsu, was pulled over by the police on 17 April for suspected drink-driving.

He failed his breathalyser test, but was filmed by police protesting: “I’ve just eaten durian fruit!”

A follow-up blood test proved that there was no alcohol in his system, putting the man in the clear.

But it also prompted local police to subsequently carry out tests themselves, to check the legitimacy of the man’s claims.

A big stink

In a 29 April investigation, Pear Video showed a police officer being breathalysed after eating some of the stinky fruit, and confirmed that his alcohol level directly after eating durian was 36mg per 100ml.

The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration in China is 0.02% – roughly 20mg per 100ml.

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Image copyright Pear Video
Image caption Officers carried out tests and failed breathalysers immediately after eating durian

Three minutes after taking the test, police officer Yu Pengxiang was retested and the breathalyser showed a negative result.

Pear Video subsequently warned users against eating the fruit while driving, along with other products that might show a positive result, including certain brands of mouthwash and lychee.

Waste of ‘innocent people’s time’

Image copyright South China Morning Post/Getty Images
Image caption Durian is banned in many hotels, subways and airports across Southeast Asia

Pear Video’s report has triggered thousands of comments on Chinese social media, with many surprised, but also concerned.

Some on the popular Sina Weibo microblog are calling on the police to apologise to the interrogated man. Others are asking for improvements in the carrying out of breathalyser tests.

“Do you have to waste innocent people’s time, frighten them and then stick a needle in them to eliminate suspicion?” one user asks.

Some are also voicing incredulity that the driver could tolerate eating durian anyway in a confined space, given its notoriously pungent smell.

There are also complaints online that the police might be relying on outdated equipment, rather than trusting their noses.

This is not the first time that breathalysers have come under scrutiny for showing positive results for non-alcoholic products.

In January, an Australian lorry driver went viral with a video showing that eating a hot cross bun could generate a positive reading.

Reporting by Kerry Allen

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