Wed, Oct 06, 1999 - Page 1 News List

Chen Chin-hsing set to be executed

JUSTICE Time is running out for the man responsible for Taiwan's most sensational kidnap-murder case. His execution order only requires the justice minister's signature


Chen Chin-hsing is led from the courtroom after being sentenced to death on Jan. 22, 1998. Chen's execution is expected within the next few days.


Taiwan's most notorious criminal, Chen Chin-hsing (陳進興), appears headed for death by firing squad soon. Prosecutors concluded yesterday that Chen has no grounds for an extraordinary appeal that could provide a stay of execution.

Prosecutor Chang Hwei-chiung (張慧瓊), who reviewed Chen's case, submitted the execution order to her superiors yesterday. Once signed by Minister of Justice Yeh Chin-feng (葉金鳳), it will be carried out within days.

Despite previous media reports yesterday that Chen might be executed as early as last night, the order had not reached Yeh's office as of yesterday afternoon.

Chen's case has been marred by disputes over the validity of the law applied to his case. Human rights groups and some legal experts argue that the Act for the Control and Punishment of Banditry (懲治盜匪條例), commonly known as the "bandit law," violates basic human rights and is no longer valid. They say that the government has repeatedly ignored one article of the 1944 law requiring its annual renewal to stay in effect.

However, the legislature, the Ministry of Justice, and the Supreme Court all recently concluded that the law is still in effect.

As the legal debate continues, Yeh has yet to order executions of nine others convicted under the law, including the famous Hsichih trio, who many lawyers believe have been wrongly convicted.

Chen and two accomplices plunged Taipei into a security nightmare in April 1997 when they kidnapped the 17-year-old daughter of entertainer Pai Ping-ping (白冰冰). Together with Lin Chun-sheng (林春生) and Kao Tien-min (高天民), Chen was on the run from police for seven months after kidnapping and beating the girl to death.

The case triggered public anger over the government's perceived inability to stem deteriorating social order. The outrage culminated in street demonstrations in May 1997, when tens of thousands of people demanded the resignation of then-premier Lien Chan (連戰).

While on the run, Chen and his gang committed two more kidnappings and a grisly triple murder at a plastic surgeon's clinic in October. Lin and Kao were eventually killed in separate shootouts with the police. Chen, meanwhile, later admitted to having preyed on many young women living alone in Taipei and raping them.

The drama ended in November when Chen broke into the residence of the South African military attache and held his family hostage for 24 hours before surrendering.

While on death row, Chen handed a 50,000-character confession to a Christian group. The Ministry of Justice reacted strongly to the group's plan to have his confessions published. The group has postponed the publication.

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