Thu, Dec 23, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Court to review suspect's release

GAS BOMBER After a request by prosecutors, the accused man will be summoned to a new hearing, where judges will review an earlier decision to release him on bail

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Members of the Taiwan Independence Party yesterday place gas cans outside the Judicial Yuan during a protest against a decision to release the accused gas bomber on bail. They said that the decision could pose a substantial threat to public safety and also advocated a direct election of the president of the Judicial Yuan.


Judges will reconsider whether they should grant a prosecutors' request to detain accused gas bomber Kao Pao-chung (高寶中) on Dec. 30, the Taipei District Court announced yesterday.

"The re-hearing will be held at 9am on Dec. 30. Kao will be summoned as well," said Huang Jiunn-ming (黃俊明), spokesman for the Taipei District Court.

According to the Code of Criminal Procedure (刑事訴訟法), if Kao fails to show up for the hearing three times, the court will approve an arrest warrant. If attempts to arrest him fail another three times, Kao will then by designated as "wanted."

"Kao was banned from traveling outside the country and his whereabouts have been under police control ever since he was released on bail," Huang said.

The Taipei District Court was asked to hear the prosecutors' request to detain Kao on Tuesday night after the high court granted a prosecutors' appeal of the district court's bail order on Dec. 18.

"We decided to grant the prosecutors' appeal and ask the district court to reconsider the detention request because Kao's behavior had jeopardized public safety and he did destroy pieces of crucial evidence of the case, such as the hat, clothes and surgical mask that he wore during the crime," said Wen Yau-yuan (溫耀源), spokesman for the Taiwan High Court.

Although the high court and district court have decided to reconsider the prosecutors' detention request, Democratic Progressive Party Lawmakers Lin Chung-mo (林重謨), Tsai Chi-fang (蔡啟芳) and Hou Shui-sheng (侯水盛) meanwhile visited Judicial Yuan Secretary-General Fan Kuang-chun (范光群) to protest the earlier bail order.

Lin, Tsai and Hou had a closed-door meeting with Fan, while Lin, before he went into the meeting, again told reporters that he was very disappointed over the district court's decision to release Kao on bail.

"From Hsueh Chiu (薛球) to Kao, judges always release these guys on bail again and again before they've given it serious thought. This is dangerous and I hope that it will not happen again," Lin said.

Kao, the 46-year-old unemployed defendant, was identified and arrested on Dec. 17 and is accused of being involved in a gas explosion that was set off in a minivan at an outdoor parking lot next to Taipei Railway Station on Dec. 9.

The minivan had been loaded with 11 20kg gas tanks and exploded around noon on Dec. 9. The explosion did not injure anyone, but it destroyed two vehicles parked next to it.

Video footage of Kao was captured on a local security surveillance system and he was soon identified by police through a fingerprint match. He immediately admitted to the crime after being arrested at his Taichung residence on Dec. 17.

The case involving Hsueh, a notorious kidnapper, also sparked disputes between prosecutors and judges. He was arrested by Miaoli police on March 21, 2000, but Miaoli District Court released him on NT$200,000 bail on the same day.

On behalf of the country's prosecutors, Minister of Justice Chen Ding-nan (陳定南) has more than once complained about the judges' bail decision over this issue.

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