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Sat, Aug 25, 2001 - Page 2 News List

Family accuses tour guide of killing 80-year-old man

VACATION DEATH The family of an 80-year-old man blames a Penghu islands travel guide for the death of their father, but the tour leader denies responsibility

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The family of a Taipei senior resident alleged yesterday that their father had been beaten to death by his tour guide during a trip to the offshore islands of Penghu.

Accompanied by DPP city councilor Wan Po-yu (王博昱), Lin Ni-yun (林霓雲) wept while holding the framed black-and-white picture of her late father, Lin Yu-chuan (林玉泉).

"I had originally returned from the US to celebrate Father's Day with my family, but arrived only to see my father's dead body," she said.

Shen Chao-jung (沈朝榮), Lin Yu-chuan's son-in-law, said that it was hard to figure why the tour guide, Chen Yu-wei (陳幼偉), 40, had been so cruel to an 80-year-old man.

"Look at him, look at the bruises on his head and face," he said, pointing to the color photos taken by the family at the intensive care unit at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Linkou, Taipei County.

"My father-in-law was a nice guy. He was very independent and traveled a lot. Even if he had done something wrong, was it necessary to beat and kill him?" he asked.

Although the official result of the autopsy has not yet been made available, the family claimed that the coroner had told them that the body showed signs of a violent attack to the head, upper body and abdomen.

Shen said that the family strongly suspected Chen might have been motivated by money to kill his father-in-law.

"We're very curious to know why the cash in his wallet had disappeared," he said.

Shen added that they are very disappointed with how the travel agency had handled the matter.

"They not only refused to offer any apology and compensation but also put the blame on the dead," he said.

Alex Su (蘇祐順), executive vice president of the Signet Travel Co, however, dismissed Shen's allegations and said that Lin himself had provoked the scuffle.

"According to other members of the group, Lin seemed to be a grumpy old man," he said. "On the day of the accident on Aug. 2, Lin swore at group members and the tour guide after having waited for them for over an hour. He then physically grappled with Chen and fell during the altercation, hurting his head."

Su said that the company had offered NT$2 million in compensation but the family asked for NT$8 million.

"We'll let the police and prosecutors take care of the matter since the case has become a legal one," he said.

Wang Hsiao-fang (王小芳), a researcher at the Tourism Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, said that if convicted of murder, Chen -- who has been a certified tour guide for eight years -- might have his license revoked for good.

He might also have to face criminal and civil action, while the travel agency might face fines, Wang said.

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