Sat, Aug 23, 2014 - Page 12 News List

Taiwan’s ‘murder’and ‘suicide’ houses

Also known as violent houses, unlucky houses and inauspicious abodes, the deathly fear of living in a ‘xiongzhai’ has led to some callous behavior by homeowners as well as several lawsuits

By Noah Buchan  /  Staff reporter

The total number of Taiwan’s xiongzhai is unknown.

Many of the posts on Unlucky House are links to articles published by Apple Daily’s xiongzhaidaka (凶宅打卡, “Xiongzhai Check-in”), a column that has in-depth profiles of famous and infamous xiongzhai cases dating back decades.

It adheres to a strict format that starts with a textual description of the case, followed by (often grisly) photos of the scene and a Google map showing its location.

A week after the MRT massacre close to the Jiangzicui station, the column reported on the four decade-old murder of Chang Ming-fong (張明鳳) by Lin Hsien-kun (林憲坤) that took place in the same neighborhood.

It explained the circumstances of the murder — the divorced Lin wanted a sexual encounter with an accountant and lured Chang to his apartment where he sexually assaulted her and killed her — and a detailed description of how he “dismembered the body with a knife, cut off the head and the four limbs and cut the torso into eight pieces, stuffed the different parts into bags, which he then dumped under the Zhongxing Bridge and Fuhe Bridge.”

Below the article, several photos depict Chang when she was alive, her dismembered body, where it was found, the suspect being paraded in front of the media, the room where the murder took place, the building where the room is located and the street where the building can be found, along with its Google maps location.

CTV’s 52nd Law Court (第52法庭) also had a 10-minute segment on it.

The privacy of local residents and the family of the deceased seem to take a back seat to the public’s presumed right to know about which buildings are xiongzhai.

“The neighbors will single it out and people will refuse to live there, especially if there has been a homicide there,” Huang says.

Huang says that three years on he still “feels as if I’m influenced [by the ghosts] and there are minor health issues.”

But it also seems that things are looking up. Huang recently passed the civil servant examination and works in Miaoli.

When asked if he would ever sell a xiongzhai again, Huang responds without hesitation.

“Certainly not.”

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