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Mon, Aug 07, 2000 - Page 4 News List

Yin investigation a matter of money

MISSED CHANCE Certain `new clues' about the murder that had been heralded by the press are now being exposed as old clues, but observers of the case says its key lies in following the money trail of the suspects

By Brian Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Prosecutor Hung Wei-hua, center, is currently investigating the murder of Yin Ching-feng with a special task force.

PHOTO: CHEN CHENG-CHANG, TAIPEI TIMES

President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) announcement of a re-launch of investigations into the mysterious 1993 murder of navy Captain Yin Ching-feng (尹清楓) has proceeded with great momentum and fanfare over the past week, but whether the renewed probe will yield any concrete results still remains to be seen.

This week's renewed efforts were immediately met by infighting between the newly established investigation task force and the military. The two spent a majority of the week arguing over copies of cassette tapes which contain interviews with a key witness already convicted in the case.

While national dailies fueled the building debate over the "new clues" supposedly contained on the tapes, a careful review of the investigation over the past six years shows that what is now being touted as "new clues" are actually old ones.

Ex-Criminal Investigation Bureau director Yang Tze-chin (楊子敬), who headed a police task force investigating the Yin murder, did not think too much of the latest confession by ex-navy Captain Kuo Li-heng (郭力恆), a key witness in the case, despite the prosecutors and the press taking his statements seriously.

Kuo made the confession on July 25 to People First Party lawmaker Lee Ching-hua (李慶華) and Captain Yin's widow, Li Mei-kuei (李美葵), during their visit to a Taipei military prison.

"The pity is that a lot of clues are unavailable because several key witnesses left the country after the murder and cannot be contacted," Yang told the Taipei Times.

While he did not name them, Yang was referring to people like Andrew Wang (汪傳浦) and Tu Cheng Chun-chu (涂鄭春菊). Both have fled the country and now live abroad.

Yang also pointed to the importance of searching bank accounts of individuals suspected of involvement.

"The Yin murder is not an unsolvable case. The murder was a result of a weapons purchase scandal. We are confident we can crack this case as long as we can have access to data about cash flows in the bank accounts of all the suspects," he said.

"This is the biggest difficulty in the investigation. It is very difficult for Taiwan's legal authorities to investigate bank accounts of all the key witnesses who are abroad. As a matter of fact, evidence in this area has never been sought in the past," he added.

A military official, involved in the investigation of the murder for several years, said a crucial problem with the case was that investigators originally presumed Yin had drowned and not been murdered.

"The first week after a murder is the most important period for evidence gathering. But military investigators responsible for finding out the cause of Captain Yin's death missed that chance," said Colonel Yang Wen-hsien (楊文賢), deputy director of the discipline monitoring office of the Ministry of National Defense.

Yang, a member of a military investigation team formed specially for the Yin case, is the son of the country's former top coroner, Yang Jih-sung (楊日松), who originally deduced that Yin might have been murdered after Yang carried out an autopsy.

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