Thu, Aug 24, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Multiple murderer charged over rapes after 18-year delay

JUSTICE Bureaucratic absurdities prevented a convict from being charged with two rapes, but a prosecutor has finally found a solution

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei District Prosecutors' Office said yesterday that legal complications had resulted in an 18-year delay in bringing charges against a convicted murderer for the alleged gang-rape of two women.

Taipei District Prosecutors' Office made the remarks in response to a report in the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister paper) yesterday, about Taipei prosecutors indicting a death row inmate last month for his suspected involvement in the 1988 rapes of two women.

"Now I will have to face the pain I have tried to forget when I testify in court," one of the rape victims was quoted as saying, who was in her 30s at the time of the attack.

The indicted convict, Kuan Chung-yen (管鐘演), is a ruthless criminal who has been sentenced to death for the murders of five people in 1988.

Earlier this month, Taipei prosecutors also indicted him for his suspected role in two additional murders in 1989, the year he was arrested for the 1988 murders.

Taipei District Prosecutors' Office spokesman Lin Jinn-tsun (林錦村) told at a press conference that a difference of opinions between prosecutors and judges about the Criminal Procedure Code was responsible for the delay in the rape indictment.

He said one of the rape victims was an employee of a real estate company in Taipei. On June 3, 1988, Kuan and three co-conspirators allegedly asked the victim and her female colleague to take them to see at a new apartment that was for sale.

Once the men were alone in the apartment with the women, they allegedly gang-raped the pair, Lin said.

He said that in 1989, when prosecutors were compiling their multiple-murder case against Kuan, they discovered that he had allegedly been involved in the sexual assault. Because the Taipei District Court was at that time in the process of trying Kuan on murder charges, Taipei prosecutors, according to the Criminal Code, decided to send the sexual assault case to the court and package it with the murder charges.

However, he added, during Kuan's various trials in following years, judges from both the Taipei District Court and the Taiwan High Court considered the sexual assault cases to be unrelated to the murder cases, and as such were not eligible for a ruling in the trial.

Therefore, on several occasions the judges withdrew the rape charges and sent them back to the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office, which kept trying to have them included with the other charges against Kuan.

Lin said that Prosecutor Chang An-chen (張安箴) was put in charge of the rape case last year.

She decided to try to end the pointless runaround by bringing a new case to the Taiwan High Court.

After Chang interviewed one of the rape victims several months ago -- she was unable to locate the second victim -- she brought an indictment against Kuan and his three conspirators for the rape. It was unclear when the trial would begin.

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