Fri, Feb 04, 2005 - Page 4 News List

Two indicted for kidnapping, thefts

DAMNING RECORD Prosecutors recommended life sentences for both men due to their prolific crime spree, which includes 14 thefts stretching back to 2000


Chiayi prosecutors indicted kidnappers Hsueh Chiu (薛球) and Chen Yi-hua (陳益華) and suggested life sentences for them late on Wednesday night.

Hsueh and Chen have admitted to two kidnapping cases involving massive ransom amounts, as well as 14 cases of theft in seven different cities in the country since 2000.

In addition to indicting Hsueh and Chen, prosecutors said they are looking for two other fugitives who worked with them, as well as an unspecified number of mafia members from Taichung.

"Hsueh and Chen have told us that Hsu Wu-hsiang (許武祥) and Lin Tsai-sheng (林再生) were working with them. Also, a group of `Taichung people' were involved," said Wang Hui-hsing (王輝興), the prosecutor who is in charge of the investigation.

Wang said that Hsueh and Chen still did not want to reveal the identities of the "Taichung people," but prosecutors believe them to be local mafia members. They are currently gathering more evidence to identify them.

"We discovered that Hsu and Lin have escaped to China and we hereby announced them `wanted' as well," Wang said. "Locating and arresting them are currently our priorities and we will try to figure out more details of the crimes committed by this group after we take them into custody," Wang said.

Hsueh, Chen, Hsu and Lin were involved in two big kidnapping cases with huge ransom amounts: the kidnapping of Taichung City Council Speaker Chang Hung-nien (張宏年) and that of the three sons and brother-in-law of Shen Mao-lin (沈茂林), a wealthy businessman in Chiayi. According to Hsueh and Chen's statement to prosecutors, Hsu and Lin were only involved in the first kidnapping case, in Taichung.

On Oct. 1, 2002, the crime ring first allegedly kidnapped Taichung City Council Speaker Chang Hung-nien (張宏年), who was then-vice speaker, and asked for a NT$30 million (US$946,000) ransom. Chang was released after they got the money. Hsueh and Chen told prosecutors that they shared NT$5 million of it. Hsu and Lin shared NT$9 million and the rest of the money went to the shadowy "Taichung people."

On March 10, 2003, Hsueh and Chen, wielding a pistol and an Uzi submachine gun, broke into Shen's residence and seized his three sons and his wife's brother. They told Shen's wife Lin Hsiu-ju (林秀汝) that she would have to pay NT$60 million for the quartet's safe return.

After negotiations, the ransom was reduced to NT$4.8 million and the four were released two days later.

In addition to these two kidnapping cases, Wang said that the two men were also involved in 14 cases of theft in Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli, Taichung, Yunlin, Chiayi and Tainan since 2000.

"Repeated crimes were the major reason why we decided to suggest life sentences for them," Wang added.

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