Sun, May 25, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Nantou prosecutors probe a possible mass murderer

COINCIDENCE OR KILLING?Five relatives of a Chiayi County man died within a 13-year period; he reportedly had taken out life-insurance policies each one of them

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Nantou prosecutors announced yesterday that they had detained a Chiayi County man who confessed to the murder of a Chiayi woman, but they suspect he may have also killed five of his relatives to gain NT$22 million in life insurance payouts.

The Nantou District Court yesterday approved prosecutors' request to detain Chen Jui-chin (陳瑞欽), a 54-year-old former Chinese Petroleum Corp technician, in connection with the murder of Chen Yi-ling (陳怡伶). Her body body was found in the Shanlinshi resort area on May 12.

Around 10pm Thursday night, Nantou Prosecutor Wang Jeh-tuo (王捷拓) led a team of police officers to arrest Chen at the Chiayi Christian Hospital, where he had been hospitalized after being severely beaten -- reportedly by some people he owned money to.

Wang said yesterday that Chen Jui-chin had admitted to police that he choked Chen Yi-ling to death and abandoned her body on May 11 after quarreling with her about his financial problems as they were on their way to Shanlinshi.

"We had discovered that Chen Yi-ling made a lot of phone calls to Chen Jui-chin on the day she was killed," Wang said.

"The license plate number of Chen Jui-chin's SUV -- 3M-5283 -- was recorded by security cameras installed at the corner of Chishan and Tzuchiang roads in Chushan township near where Chen Yi-ling's body was discovered," Wang said. "That's how we knew he was the man we wanted."

Wang said Chen Jui-chin had confessed to the crime after he was arrested and that is why the court had approved the detention request right away.

But now prosecutors and police in Nantou and Chiayi counties want to know more about Chen Jui-chin's past.

Wang said his office had discovered that five of Chen's relatives, including his son, had died in what appears to be an unusual string of accidents within a 13-year period.

Wang said Chen Jui-chin apparently bought life insurance policies for each of the five without telling them and that he was the beneficiary of all of the policies.

Wang said that Chen's first wife, Tseng Bi-hsia (曾碧霞), died after a fall from her bed in 1985 and that while Chen had been the only witness he could not explain how the accident happened.

According to Wang, in 1988, Chen Jui-chin's 15-year-old stepson, Chen Yi-chi (陳一志) -- the son of his second wife Wang Shu-ying

(王淑嬰) -- died of brain damage.

Chen Jui-chin had reportedly purchased policies on his stepson from five insurance companies.

Wang said that in 1995, Chen Jui-chin's own son, Chen Chien-hung (陳建宏), was hit by a car. The boy was treated and released by a local hospital but died the next day at home after lapsing into a coma.

The prosecutor said Wang Shu-ying then died in a car accident in 1996 and that a third wife's son -- Chen Tsung-ching (陳宗慶) -- also died at home in 1998, reportedly from brain damage that Chen Jui-chin had told doctors had been caused by a car accident.

Prosecutors say Chen Jui-chin has not been able to explain the coincidence of all these people dying shortly after he had taken out insurance policies on them.

"Nantou and Chiayi prosecutors as well as police officers from Nantou, Chiayi and the Criminal Investigation Bureau are now re-investigating these five deaths," Wang said.

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