Sat, Nov 17, 2007 - Page 2 News List

`Rail murder' suspect out on bail

BROTHERLY LOVE Lee Tai-an, the older brother of a man who killed his Vietnamese bride in an elaborate murder plot, had his sentence reduced from life to 18 years

By Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Lee Tai-an smiles as his son wipes his face yesterday in Taitung. Convicted of being an accessory to the murder of his sister-in-law and sabotaging the southern link railway last year, Lee was released on bail yesterday.

PHOTO: CHEN HSIEN-I, TAIPEI TIMES

The Pingtung man convicted of being an accessory in the murder of his sister-in-law and sabotaging the southern link railway last year was released on bail yesterday. The court revoked his original life sentence and reduced it to 18 years, on the grounds that he was only an accessory to the murder plot and not the mastermind.

Lee Tai-an (李泰安), the older brother of Taiwan Railway worker Lee Shuang-chuan (李雙全) said he was happy to go home and that he was confident that his name will ultimately be cleared.

The Kaohsiung High Court did not specify when Lee Tai-an will face his third and final hearing. He has been incarcerated since last June prior to yesterday's release on NT$20,000 bail.

According to the verdict, Lee Shuang-chuan, the husband of the victim Chen Shi Hong-chen (陳氏紅琛), was the chief orchestrator of the plot to murder his Vietnamese bride by causing several derailments in Pingtung County.

Lee Shuang-chuan committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree six days after his wife's death as the police were zeroing in on him as a possible suspect.

It is alleged that Lee Shuang-chuan was trying to cash in on the NT$70 million (US$2.16 million) accidental death insurance policy that he took out on his wife shortly before her death.

Investigators found that Lee Shuang-chuan's second wife, also a Vietnamese national, died in an accident when she was allegedly bitten by a poisonous snake five years ago. Lee Shuang-chuan collected NT$20 million in life insurance compensation for her death.

It was also discovered that Lee Shuang-chuan had lost NT$33 million on the stock market right before Chen's death.

The verdict said Lee Shuang-chuan solicited his older brother's help in carrying out the scam when his friend Huang Fu-lai (黃福來) backed out at the last minute.

Lee Tai-an was allegedly in charge of purchasing a hallucination drug, FM2, which was injected by Lee Shuang-chuan into Chen Shi's arm to inhibit her ability to escape when the train in which the couple rode derailed last March.

Lee Shuang-chuan sustained a few bruises while his wife was hospitalized from her injuries.

Prosecutors said that Chen was later murdered in the hospital by her husband, who injected her with snake poison.

At least 10 other passengers were also injured in the accident. The train was completely destroyed.

Lee Tai-an, according to the verdict, also unscrewed the bolts and the clasp fasteners on the tracks to cause the derailment.

The judges ruled that even though Lee Tai-an committed a despicable crime, he was only an accomplice and therefore should not be penalized to the severity that he would if he were the master plotter behind the elaborate murder.

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