Four people on death row were executed yesterday evening, the Ministry of Justice announced last night.
The ministry made the announcement after the four people were shot with pistols at 7:30pm at four different prisons.
The four had been given death sentences and were executed in accordance with the law, the ministry said.
The four were Chang Wen-wei (張文蔚), Ko Shih-ming (柯世銘), Chang Wei-long (張慰龍) and Hong Chen-yao (洪晨耀).
Chang Wen-wei was given a death sentence for the kidnapping and murder of a 16-year-old in Taichung County. He committed the crime while he was out on parole.
Ko had been handed two death sentences for killing a man in a business dispute in Tainan County, as well as a woman who witnessed the murder.
Chang Wei-long kidnapped his friend’s seven-year-old daughter in Taoyuan County and murdered her after he was paid a ransom.
Hong was found guilty of murdering three people over debt disputes in Hsinchu County. He told police he killed them because he was upset.
Until yesterday’s executions, the Ministry of Justice had not approved an execution since December 2005.
Saying that Taiwan is a country of law and order where all procedures are conducted in accordance with the law, Presidential Office Spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) last night said there must be a legal base for a stay of execution, otherwise the Ministry of Justice should proceed according to the law.
More discussion is needed before the public reaches a consensus on whether the death penalty should be abolished, he said.
The issue of abolishing the death penalty came to the fore in March when then-minister of justice Wang Ching-feng (王清峰) openly stated her objections to capital punishment and said she would not approve any executions as minister. Her statements led to public criticism, especially by victims’ families and opposition legislators and Wang later resigned.
New Justice Minister Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) has said he would approve the executions of prisoners on death row if they have exhausted the appeals process.
In view of the controversial issue, the ministry recently held hearings to gather the public’s opinions on the matter.
At a hearing held in Banciao (板橋), Taipei County, on April 21, Tseng said the ministry would review the cases of all 44 inmates now on death row, and exhaust all relief measures before carrying out any executions.
“Carrying out the death sentences will not drag to the end of this year,” Tseng said at the time.
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