Family members of derailment suspect Lee Shuang-chuan (李雙全) yesterday harshly criticized pro-secutors investigating the March 17 incident, saying that Lee had been hounded to death after they released details of their probe to the media.
The family members made the accusation during a news conference at the Legislative Yuan.
Lee, whose Vietnamese wife was aboard the train with him and died after the derailment, committed suicide early on Thursday morning by hanging himself from a tree in his backyard. His death came after prosecutors began to suspect he may have been involved in causing the derailment.
Their suspicions were aroused because Lee took out a NT$20 million (US$625,000) insurance policy on his wife that covered accidental death just days before the derailment, according to prosecutors. Lee's previous wife, also Vietnamese, also died under mysterious circumstances four years ago, they said. They also alleged that Lee had lost more than NT$33 million on the stock market between 2001 and 2004.
But yesterday, Lee's elder brother Lee Tai-an (
They were accompanied at the legislature by People First Party (PFP) Legislator Lin Hui-kuan (林惠官) and Taiwan Railway Labor Union president Chen Han-ching (陳漢卿).
"If my son owed so much money, why haven't I seen anyone from a commercial collector asking us for money?" said Lee's father, as tears streamed down his face. "The prosecutor hasn't given us an explanation. He has hounded my son to death. Will he still try to force me to die?"
"The prosecutor ought to give back our justice, give back my son's life!" the old man cried.
Lee's brother said the media's coverage had overwhelmed Lee Shuang-chuan.
"The United Evening Express hinted that my brother had `committed murder out of greed,'" he said while sobbing. "I will help my brother by fighting to win back his good name."
The chief prosecutor at the Pingtung District Prosecutors' Office, Chuang Jung-sung (
After double checking with the brokerage that Lee Shuang-chuan used, Grand Cathay Securities Corp (
"We apologize to Lee's family if this mistake caused trouble for them," said Chuang.
Chuang said the task force is still calculating Lee Shuang-chuan's stock activity, and could not even say if he had made a profit or loss.
Meanwhile, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday said that he believed in the prosecutors' professionalism. But he added that he would request an investigation to determine whether there was a leak in the prosecutors' office.
"It is my understanding that this case has been shifted from the Pingtung District Prosecutors' Office to the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors' Office now that the public do not feel comfortable letting Pingtung prosecutors continue their jobs after Mr Lee died. But I will support the prosecutors no matter what," Su said on the legislative floor yesterday.
The premier said he believed that there must have been a good reason for prosecutors to investigate Lee, and that there were many seeming coincidences about Lee Shuang-chuan and the case. However, Su said he felt sorry that Lee Shuang-chuan had decided to commit suicide.