Police said yesterday that DNA analysis linked a 26-year old ex-marine to the notorious "rice bomber" explosions and the suspect had admitted to 17 incidents.
Officials said the analysis confirmed that Changhua native Yang Ju-man (楊儒門) was the man that police have been trying to find for several months.
But they say they are still trying to figure out all the details before they can officially announce that the "rice bomber" case is closed, because Yang, a chicken vendor in Keelung, might not be the only person involved.
"Forensic scientists discovered that the bombs used in the 17 cases were not exactly alike and could have been produced by different people. We have to be careful with this," said Criminal Investigation Bureau Commissioner Hou You-yi (侯友宜).
According to the police, the break in the "rice bomber" mystery began at 7:30pm Thursday, when the duty officer at the Chungcheng First Precinct tried to stop a man who was trying to illegally park his compact pickup in front of the precinct station.
The man then walked into the precinct and told the duty officer that he knew who "rice bomber" was and wanted the NT$500,000 reward police had put up.
The man was later identified as Yang Ju-tsai (楊儒才), Yang Ju-man's younger brother.
Yang Ju-tsai told the police that he had seen the picture of the "rice bomber" released by the police on Thursday and thought that it was his brother. So he decided to go to the police and apply for the reward.
When police officers were set to leave the precinct with Yang Ju-tsai to go and search for Yang Ju-man, they discovered the suspect standing in front of the precinct door. He was reportedly wearing the same clothes as the man in the picture, which had been taken by a security camera on Zhongshan S. Rd.
Police said that Yang Ju-man refused to be interrogated Thursday night so he wasn't questioned until yesterday morning. The interrogation was conducted at the Taipei City Police Department's Criminal Investigation Division (CID) and lasted for more than 12 hours.
Officials said Yang Ju-man admitted to 17 bomb incidents before the police decided to transfer him to the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office for further questioning. He was transferred around 5:30pm and the interrogation was still underway as of press time last night.
Meanwhile, Taipei Prosecutor Cheng Ker-sheng (鄭克盛) led a team of police officers on a raid of the Yang brothers' residence in Keelung yesterday. Officials said a timer had been found in the home, along with drafts of the letters that the "rice bomber" had written to the police and the media.
According to the police, Yang Ju-man completed his term of military service with the marines' Amphibious Reconnaissance and Patrol Unit (ARPU). The unit's members daily physical training includes a 10km-swim with fully-loaded weapons and 30km-run. Every member is trained in judo and taekwondo, as well as special combat skills such as demolition, scuba diving and parachuting. Team members must gain a basic knowledge of maneuvering different vehicles, aircraft and boats.
The police also discovered Yang Ju-man regularly donated NT$1,700 to World Vision Taiwan and the organization confirmed this.
"According to the contradictions in his behavior, I feel that he really hates the world," Hou said.
Meanwhile, police said it would up to the prosecutors to decide whether Yang Ju-tsai meets the criteria for receiving the reward offered in the "rice bomber" case.