Sun, Sep 10, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Five siblings slain in Hualien

PARENTS AT FAULT? A police spokesman said that Liu Chih-chin, the father of five murdered children, was in debt and this may have led to the ghastly crime

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Hualien police were yesterday looking for a missing couple whose five children were found dead at their Hualien home on Friday night.

Police suspect the five were murdered by their father Liu Chih-chin (劉志勤), 48, and mother Lin Chen-mi (林真米), 35. Both are missing.

Liu's car was was found by police yesterday parked near the Chian Township (吉安) train station in Hualien County. Police suspect the pair abandoned the car and left the township by train.

The five deceased include Liu's 18-year-old and 17-year-old sons -- children from Liu's previous marriage -- and three daughters aged 12, 9 and 8 from his current marriage to Lin.

"The five corpses were found at a bathroom in their house. Their hands and legs were all tied with wire, and their facial features were sealed with adhesive tape, and their heads were covered with plastic bags," police officer Lin Chien-lung (林建龍) in charge of the case told the media yesterday.

As there were no signs of fighting in the house, police suspect the five were already unconscious before they were smothered, added officer Lin.

The windows and the door of the bathroom were sealed with adhesive tape, officer Lin said.

The officer said it appeared the five had been dead for three days.

Officer Lin said Liu's wife Lin talked with the children's teachers by telephone on Wednesday and asked them to be excused from class due to illness.

Hualien District Prosecutors' Office spokeswoman Huang Yi-chun (黃怡君) yesterday told the media an autopsy would be conducted to learn whether the five were poisoned.

Liu was suspected of having debts of around NT$3 million (US$91,254), which may have led to the incident, officer Lin said.

Police suspect Liu and Lin might have left their home and committed suicide outside after killing their children.

Police also suspect the murder might have involved Liu's creditors, officer Lin added.

Police discovered the murder on Friday evening, after neighbors detected a bad smell emanating from house.

The neighbors told police nothing peculiar had happened before the incident.

Lin said that Liu ran a tourist photography business in Hualien.

Police suspect that Liu went heavily into debt to expand his business, which led to serious financial difficulties for the family.

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