Thu, Aug 30, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Man confesses bizarre life of crime

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Justice is investigating the claims of a man who said that he stood in for a number of criminals by appearing for them at trial and serving their prison sentences.

The man, who suffers from severe hemophilia, said he was willing to take the blame for other people's crimes because he knew he would be released early from the prison sentences as a result of his poor health.

Department of Corrections Director Shaw Ming-yi (蕭明毅) yesterday told a press conference that the man, Kuo Rong-hui (郭榮輝), 35, had been sentenced to a total of 36 years and six months in jail for a number of crimes, including offenses against public safety, theft, using and selling drugs and violations of gun, explosives and knife regulations.

Shaw said that Kuo had been released early from prison repeatedly because of his hemophilia, adding that Kuo had, for example, entered prison in late 2002 and been released for medical treatment on March 2003.

Shaw said that Kuo's condition required treatment amounting to NT$60,000 (US$1,800) per week, which the prisons could not afford.

The Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister newspaper) yesterday reported that Kuo had confessed in an interview to taking the place of a number of criminals at trial and in prison.

The Liberty Times reporter had interviewed Kuo at his home after a judge told the journalist about his suspicion that Kuo could be involved in a scam.

Kuo told the reporter that his criminal record listed about 90 crimes, of which about 70 were committed by other people.

He said that he had received NT$300,000 from each offender to take the consequences for their crimes and had once received NT$12 million from a drug smuggler.

Kuo said that since he had gotten away with the scam so many times, many gangsters had approached him for his service.

Kuo on Tuesday attended a trial at the Banciao District Court on charges of possession of two pistols. Another suspect had been charged with possessing a third pistol in the same case.

Kuo told the court that all three pistols were his and that the other suspect was innocent.

The court said it did not believe Kuo's claim and the judge had become suspicious.

The Liberty Times report prompted a police investigation, with Minister of Justice Morley Shih (施茂林) yesterday saying authorities were taking the matter very seriously because it has implications on the work of police officers, prosecutors and judges.

Banciao District Prosecutors' Office spokesman Huang Yu-yuan (黃玉垣) yesterday said that Banciao prosecutors had arrested Kuo while his claims were under investigation.

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