Sun, Jun 25, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Lee Tai-an's lawyer denies reports

NO CHANGE An attorney for the Pingtung train derailment suspect denied that his client had made any confession following media reports to the contrary

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Lee Tai-an (李泰安), currently being held by police over the Pingtung train derailment case, has not admitted to any crimes, one of Lee's defense counsel said yesterday.

"I can only assure you that my client [Lee] has not admitted to anything. That is all," said Wu Cheng-chieh (吳澄潔).

"Attorney Wu Han-cheng (吳漢成), another defense counsel of Lee's, and I have been trying to see Lee in person and learn of what he told prosecutors but we have yet to have a chance," Wu said yesterday.

"I also want to know what exactly happened and what exactly Lee told prosecutors," Wu Cheng-chieh said. "At the moment, I must say, these stories in the newspapers may not reflect what is really going on."

Kaohsiung District Prosecutors' Office Spokesman Chung Chung-hsiao (鍾忠孝) would not confirm reports by local media that Lee had made a confession but he did say that prosecutors found something "useful" at the crime scene last Thursday and the result of a DNA test will be available some time next week.

Meanwhile, the Taiwan Railway Administration has decided to seek compensation of NT$46.96 million (US$1,467,500) from the Lee family.

"We have filed a request to the court to temporarily freeze the Lee brothers' properties while we seek compensation," said Ho Nuan-hsuan (何煖軒), acting director-general of the administration. "We want to do this because we are hoping to stop those who are tempted to commit any kind of crime by taking advantage of public transportation."

Lee's defense counsel was not happy about the administration's legal move.

"[Lee] has yet to be convicted of anything. The request for compensation seems to me to assume that my client is guilty," Wu Han-cheng said.

Chinese-language newspapers such as the United Daily and China Times, among others, all reported that Lee had admitted to "parts of the crime."

Prosecutors had carried out a DNA test and Lee's DNA matches samples collected from the crime scene, said the media reports, adding that prosecutors discovered new evidence after questioning another person allegedly involved in the crime.

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