Fri, Nov 15, 2002 - Page 4 News List

Prosecutor says indictment sends message to criminals

QUICK ACTION The head of the Panchiao Prosecutors' Office says his speedy indictment of three suspects in a robbery case will serve as a warning to potential thieves

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A Panchiao prosecutor yesterday said he hoped that his completion in only three days of the investigation and indictment of the three suspects in a Sanhsia robbery case will be seen by criminals as a sign that law-enforcement officials won't let their guard down.

"Criminals should learn from this that we will never give them a break," Lo Sung-fang (羅松芳), chief prosecutor of the Panchiao Pros-ecutors' Office, told the Taipei Times.

"I hope this can be a reminder to people who are tempted to break the law," Lo said.

The three suspects, Lo Sheng (羅聖), Chen Shu-kun (陳樹坤) and Tseng Chiu-kai (曾秋凱) were indicted yesterday on robbery charges in connection with the theft on Nov. 5 of NT$150,000 from an elderly married couple who own a Sanhsia restaurant.

The serving of the indictment transfers the case from prosecutors to the courts.

Police had told reporters on Nov. 9, the day the three were arrested, that the suspects had beaten the couple, bruising them, and tied them up.

Lo Sung-fang said, however, that evidence and the statements of the three led him to believe that the couple had suffered bruises not as a result of a beating, but in the course of a brief scuffle with the thieves as the pair tried to prevent their escape.

He also said that the three had tied the couple up in such a way that they would be able to free themselves quickly, indicating that the suspects simply wanted to buy time to escape rather than cause harm. The victims did not require any medical treatment.

The police arrested the suspects on Saturday, transferring them to prosecutors immediately, after they admitted to the crime during a short police interview.

Lo Sung-fang is seeking a 12-year prison term for Lo Sheng, whom he described as the mastermind behind the crime, and 10 years each for Chen and Tseng.

The three remain in custody at Taipei Detention House. A date for their trial has not yet been set.

Prosecutors' investigations usually last weeks or even months.

Lo said that he had expedited this case by staying in his office for three entire days, but said that he was aided by the fact that the three had confessed and that the case was relatively straightforward.

"As long as we have enough evidence, or a confession from the suspects themselves, I would prefer to finish the work [investigation and indictment] within the shortest possible time and let the judges do the rest," he said.

Lo Sung-fang said he believed it was necessary to punish criminals as quickly as possible, especially in the Sanhsia area, where already high crime rates continue to increase.

The restaurant robbery occurred only three days after KMT Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖) was robbed in the area.

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