Sun, Dec 19, 2004 - Page 2 News List

`Gas bomber' released on bail

ON THE STREETS Prosecutors said they will appeal the decision by judges to release on NT$100,000 bail the man who confessed to masterminding a recent van explosion

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei judges yesterday decided to release gas bomber Kao Pao-chung (高寶中) on NT$100,000 bail but prosecutors said that they will appeal some time this week.

"Usually, judges will consider detaining a suspect if the person commits an offence meriting a possible sentence of more than five years, or there is a chance of the person escaping or exchanging testimony with fellow defendants," said Huang Jiunn-ming (黃俊明), spokesman for the Taipei District Court.

"Kao's offence is not one that would lead to a sentence of more than five years, and he has been cooperative ever since he was arrested. So we decided to release him on bail."

Taipei prosecutors were not totally disappointed by the court decision but said they would appeal.

"We respect court decisions whatever they are. But for this case, we still insist there is a need to detain Kao. So we will discuss this matter on Monday and file our appeal soon," said Lin Bang-liang (林邦樑), spokesman for the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office.

In response to the decision, Vice Minister of the Interior Lee Chin-yung (李進勇) held a news conference at the ministry yesterday morning. Although he was off for the weekend, he returned to his office to criticize the court's decision to let Kao go, and said that the ministry will encourage and support prosecutors to appeal.

"Kao is a time bomb to most of the public. It is truly not wise to let him go that easily. In addition, police officers spent so much time and effort to track him down. The judge's releasing him is really a humiliation for the police officers," Lee said.

Although Kao was released on NT$100,000 bail early yesterday morning, he stayed at the Taipei Detention House until yesterday afternoon, until his father eventually collected enough cash to post bail.

According to Taipei Prosecutor Huang Li-wei's (黃立維) investigation, Kao told investigators he made four minor bombs, loaded the stolen minivan with 11 20kg gas tanks and planned to set them off at Taipei Railway Station. In addition to the minivan gas explosion, four minor bombs which he planted inside the station and were later discovered by the police did not work at all.

As for his bomb threats to Taipei 101 and mention of two other bombs in his letters to two TV stations, Kao told officers that he was only bluffing.

As for his signature "999" on the gas tanks, he told officers that it was merely an idea that came from the name of a wholesale warehouse.

The police initially suspected that it might be related to a secret underground organization.

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