Sun, Sep 25, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Prison terms upheld in attempted murder case

TAPED EVIDENCE The Supreme Court ruled that a man and his mistress were justly convicted of trying to murder his wife based on tapes of their phone calls

BY RICH CHANG  /  STAFF REPORTER

A former junior-high school principal in Taichung County and his mistress, who taught at the same school, were sentenced to five years and six months in jail by the Supreme Court on Friday for three attempts to murder the man's wife.

"The principal, Chao Wen-hsuan (趙文漩), had extramarital relations with the school's teacher and director of general services, Chang Kui-lan (張桂蘭). Chao and Chang hired a man named Chi Tsai-fa (紀財發) who tried three times to murder Chao's wife by faking car accidents," the Supreme Court said in its ruling.

The ruling rejected Chao and Chang's appeals and upheld the Taiwan High Court's verdict. The ruling also added one year and two month's onto Chi's sentence.

Chao was principal of the Hoping Junior-High School in Hoping (和平) Township in 1997, when his wife, an elementary-school teacher surnamed Yang, discovered that he was having an affair with Chang.

Yang reported Chao and Chang to the police, accusing them of adultery.

Chao and Chang decided to retaliate, the ruling said, and asked Chi to kill Yang by faking a traffic accident.

The ruling said that Chi tried to kill Yang on three occasions in 1988.

In the first attempt, Chi had parked to the left of Chao and Yang's residence and waited for Yang to leave home, but when she did leave, she made a right-hand turn and drove off on her scooter.

In the second attempt, Chao called Chi to say that Yang was heading home and Chi waited for her outside the residence, but she did not appear. In the third attempt Chi's car developed mechanical difficulties when he tried to speed up to hit Yang.

The ruling noted that Yang had hired private detectives to tail her husband and had taped Chao and Chang's phone conversations. Yang went to the police after listening to the tapes and hearing the pair telling Chi to kill her by staging a traffic accident.

Chao and Chang were indicted for attempted homicide based on those tape recordings, although their attorney tried to argue that the tapes were obtained illegally and therefore should not be used as evidence.

Friday's ruling said the tapes clearly revealed the defendants were attempting to take a woman's life, so the court could accept them as evidence.

Chao and Chang were suspended from their jobs when news of their affair and the murder-for-hire plot broke in 1998. Chao and Yang divorced that same year.

Yang, who retired from teaching earlier this year, told reporters on Friday that she thought the Supreme Court verdict was fair.

Chao, who now lives with Chang and sells lunch boxes for a living, told reporters that they had never sought to have his ex-wife killed.

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