Tue, Jul 24, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Amnestied prisoner becomes suspect in brutal murder case

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH STAFF WRITER

A drug addict who was released under the amnesty on July 16 is suspected of beating a National Taiwan University (NTU) professor to death yesterday.

Police said the victim, Hsieh Huann-ju (謝煥儒), was an assistant professor at NTU's department of plant pathology and microbiology.

Hsieh was riding his bicycle when he was assaulted near Taipei's Youth Park at approximately 10am, police said.

Police who responded to emergency calls discovered that Hsieh had serious head injuries and was unconscious. The professor was rushed to hospital, but died in the afternoon.

Yang Chen-tang (楊振堂), the released drug addict, was still wandering around the park when the police arrived.

Officers said Yang seemed to be under the influence of drugs. He was arrested and taken back to the police station.

During questioning, Yang said he had beaten Hsieh but could not remember why.

Yang is one of 9,597 inmates released as part of a commutation granted to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the ending of martial law.

Among those who have benefited from the statute were prisoners convicted on charges of illegal drug possession or sales, burglary, theft, fraud and homicide.

Just a day after they walked free from prison, four drug offenders were arrested for repeat offenses, police said.

The Ministry of Justice said that, as of last Saturday, more than 10 people released under the commutation program had been found dead as a result of drug overdoses.

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