The Taiwan High Court yesterday found Hsu Jung-chou (許榮洲) not guilty of the rape and murder of a five-year-old girl in 1996 that had led to the wrongful execution of airman Chiang Kuo-ching (江國慶), and ordered Hsu’s release.
Hsu was charged with the murder by the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office in May 2011 and that December was sentenced to 18 years in jail by the Taipei District Court.
The High Court’s acquittal left the question of who the real murderer was unanswered.
Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times
The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office said it would decide whether to appeal to the Supreme Court once it has read the ruling.
The High Court said Hsu, who is mentally challenged, confessed to the crime on seven occasions, but all the confessions were contradicted by autopsy findings.
The High Court said Hsu’s IQ is between that of a nine and 12-year-old and he has difficulty expressing himself. He cannot write and his initial confession was made to military officials, and was written down by a member of the military who refused to testify during the hearing.
Hsu had confessed to using his fingers to penetrate the victim’s vagina, but the autopsy showed a stick had been used, causing internal injuries. After the youngster died, a knife was inserted through her vagina into her stomach.
The ruling said Hsu left a bloody palm print at the scene of the crime, but no other evidence indicates that he was involved in the crime.
In the first trial, the Taipei District Court ruled that on Sept. 12, 1996, Hsu, who was an airman assigned to the Air Force Command, saw the girl, surnamed Hsieh (謝), watching TV alone at a restaurant at the base. It said he led the girl to a washroom and then took off her clothes before brutally assaulting her and that, to stifle the girl’s cries, he put his hand over her mouth and nose, smothering her.
The case has sparked controversy because the investigation determined that Chiang, who was also serving in the Air Force Command at the time of the incident and was convicted of the crime after a month-long military investigation and was executed the following year, was innocent. Chiang was 21 years old when he was executed.
A military court exonerated Chiang and awarded his family NT$103.18 million (US$3.4 million) in compensation, and filed a lawsuit with the Taipei District Court requiring former minister of national defense Chen Chao-min (陳肇敏), who was then commander of the air force, and other military officials to repay the military for the compensation paid to Chiang’s family.
The military said that its lawsuit to recover the compensation from Chen and others would not be affected by the yesterday’s ruling.
Taipei prosecutors are still investigating whether Chen and seven other military officials had used inappropriate methods to coerce Chiang into confessing.
‘NO EQUILIBRIUM’: Taiwan’s increased defense spending is a good step, but it needs to do more to have the ability to deter aggression from China, a senior US official said The US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems — including mines, cruise missiles and drones — to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to Taiwan were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. However, US President Donald Trump’s administration has this year become more aggressive with China, and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, lingering trade tensions, disputes about the
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Several of the PLA fighter jets that crossed the median line of the Strait came within 68km of Hsinchu, drawing warnings from Taiwan, the ministry said At least 18 Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the second day of a US delegation’s visit, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that the military responded by deploying an air defense missile system to monitor their activities. A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach on Thursday started a three-day visit to Taiwan. The ministry from Thursday started publicizing the actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Taiwan’s ADIZ on its Web site and Twitter. According to ministry reports, 18 PLA aircraft
WORKING OVERTIME? NTU professor Lee Duu-jong denied that he had held a part-time position at a Chinese university or joined China’s Thousand Talents Program A candidate for the post of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) president yesterday dropped out of the race following a report questioning his links to Chinese academia and government programs. Lee Duu-jong (李篤中), a professor at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) chemical engineering department, was a member of China’s Changjiang Scholars’ Program in 2006 and was on the list of its Thousand Talents Program in 2017, a report by Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine said yesterday. The article said that Lee is suspected of having held a part-time job at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China and was the recipient
TWO CASES: The five allegedly conspired with conglomerates, threatening the nation’s governance and subverting the rules of ethical conduct, a deputy chief prosecutor said Taipei prosecutors yesterday charged three legislators and one former lawmaker with contravening the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) in a case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co (太平洋流通) chairman Lee Heng-lung’s (李恆隆) battle with the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) over ownership of the Pacific SOGO Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) chain, while independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) was indicted in a separate case involving two funeral services companies and a plot of land in a national park. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator