Sat, Feb 28, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Poverty-stricken family in suicide bid at CKS hall

DESPERATE BID With both sons out of work, the family had just NT$800 when they made the decision to drink pesticide and then slit their wrists

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Police officers examine the scene where a Taipei County family attempted suicide at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall late Thursday night.

PHOTO: CHIEN JUNG-FENG, TAIPEI TIMES

Four Taipei County residents have been hospitalized after attempting suicide at CKS Memorial Hall on Thursday night.

Chen Yao-sheng (陳耀生), 84, his wife Chen Wang Su-chen (陳王素貞), 67 and their sons Yeh Ching-shu (葉清樹), 37, and Chen Chung-chi (陳忠琪), 32. Yeh is Chen Yao-sheng's stepson.

The police said that a young couple discovered the four lying on the ground near the square's Ta-chung Gate. There were several bottles of pesticide near them and a lot of blood on the ground.

The couple called for ambulances and the family was rushed to nearby hospitals. Chen Wang Su-chen and Yeh were sent to the National Taiwan University Hospital, while the father and the youngest son were sent to Mackay Memorial Hospital.

As of press time yesterday, the younger son remained in a coma and was listed in critical condition. The others are recovering.

"When they arrived here around 11pm Thursday night, both of them had big cuts on their wrists and were bleeding. They also told the ambulance crews that they had drunk a lot of pesticide before they cut themselves," said Kuo Mu-yi (郭慕儀), a doctor at National Taiwan University Hospital who took care of Yeh and his mother.

According to the police, the family attempted suicide because they could not afford their rent for an apartment in Sanchung, Taipei County, and had been evicted by their landlord on Feb. 23. Both sons were out of work.

The police said the mother told them that after the family had initially planned to commit suicide by jumping into the sea at Keelung but did not do so because the sea water was too cold. She said that when they finally decided on the suicide bid at CKS Memorial Hall, they only had NT$800 left.

The Chens told the police that the father used to be a driver for former Control Yuan member Wang Yu-chen (王玉珍). They said Wang had taken advantage of the elder Chen, using his ID card to establish several bank accounts which Wang used for stock trading and other activities in order to evade taxes.

Chen Yao-sheng is wanted for tax evasion and the family has repeatedly petitioned different law enforcement agencies and government offices, including the Presidential Office, about his case. They said they had received no response.

Wang told reporters yesterday that he did have financial disputess with the Chens, but that they had nothing to do with any legal cases. He said he would make a public explanation in the near future, although he did not give a date.

The Presidential Office confirmed that it received a letter from Chen Wang Su-chen on Aug. 6, 2002. But spokesman James Huang (黃志芳) said the government should not get involved in personal cases or meddle with the judiciary.

"Mrs. Chen Wang made an accusation against an individual person, not a government department," Huang said. "We therefore had to turn down Mrs. Chen-Wang's request to meet President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and for him to conduct an investigation into her case."

"We assigned an official to phone Mrs. Chen Wang and try to provide assistance to her family," he said.

"However, her family seemed too nervous to communicate with us," he said. "Mrs. Chen Wang just said that her family was being monitored and then hung up."

additional reporting by Lin Chieh-yu

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