Sat, May 06, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Brother of railway suspect questioned

INVESTIGATION Taichung police searched the home of the elder brother of murder suspect Lee Shuang-chuan and quizzed him before releasing him yesterday

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Police questioned the elder brother of train crash suspect Lee Shuang-chuan (李雙全) yesterday in connection with a March derailment in Pingtung.

Taichung police later released Lee Tai-an (李泰安) without charge.

"Chen Hong-chen (陳氏紅琛), the deceased Vietnamese spouse of Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) employee Lee Shuang-chuan, was found to have taken poison before she died in the accident.

Prosecutors therefore suspected she was poisoned before boarding the train," Kaohsiung District Prosecutors' Office Spokesman Chung Chung-hsiao (鍾忠孝) said yesterday.

Lee Shuang-chuan committed suicide by hanging himself after the suspicious death of his wife following the derailment.

Local media said witnesses had told investigators that Chen had to be helped to board the train by her husband, indicating that she might have been poisoned and was took weak to walk along the platform, but Chung yesterday refused to confirm the matter.

A number of police were also sent to raid Lee Tai-an's residence in Taichung County yesterday.

Police used metal detectors to search for equipment which could have been used to tamper with rail tracks and they also looked for poisons, but did not reveal if they had found anything.

The westbound Taitung to Kaohsiung express train derailed on the night of March 17 as it reached the Fangshan (枋山)-Neishih (內獅) section of track in Pingtung County.

Three of the carriages flipped onto their sides on the track embankment, and the engine was completely destroyed.

Chen was the only person to die following the incident but the train's driver and his assistant were injured in the crash.

Lee Shuang-chuan hung himself from a tree outside his home on March 23 after Pingtung prosecutors began to suspect he might have been involved in causing the derailment.

Lee's 82-year-old father Lee Chu-pao (李聚寶) and elder brother Lee Tai-an then harshly criticized prosecutors investigating the derailment, saying that Lee had been hounded to his death after they released details of their probe to the media.

"It is a tough case because after Lee Shuang-chuan died, it has become harder to collect evidence," Chung said.

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.

Lee's previous wife, who was also Vietnamese, died in similar circumstances four years ago.

TRA's Taitung to Kaohsiung Southern Link Line has been vandalized six times since 2004.

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