The proposal to grant parole to a graduate student who murdered her classmate in a case involving a love triangle 10 years ago is still under review, a Ministry of Justice official said yesterday.
The official made the remarks following reports that Kaohsiung Women’s Prison had applied for parole for Hung Hsiao-huei (洪曉慧), who was sentenced to 18 years in prison for the murder and mutilation of her classmate, Hsu Chia-chen (�?u), in March 1998.
“Given the high profile nature of the case, the ministry’s review committee will take everything into careful consideration before submitting its recommendations,” the official said.
Justice minister-designate Wang Ching-feng (王清峰), who will assume office on May 20, said she wanted to learn more about the case before making any statement.
However, the guiding principle behind any decision would be “to respect the system, respect professionalism and take care of the family of the victim,” she said.
Hung was found guilty of killing Hsu in an auditorium at National Tsinghua University in Hsinchu and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. She was also found guilty of mutilating the body after the murder, for which the court sentenced her to an additional three-and-a-half years.
The court verdict against Hung also included an order to compensate Hsu’s parents NT$24.17 million (US$795,000).
Hung and Hsu were rivals in a love triangle and during an argument Hung beat Hsu unconscious and eventually killed her. Hung then poured a potent corrosive chemical — aqua regia — over her body before dragging it to the rear of the auditorium to hide it.
Hung and Hsu were both graduate students at the university’s radiobiology institute at the time of the murder.
Hung was not eligible for commutation of her sentence under an amnesty statute passed by the legislature last year, but her sentence for the mutilation of the body could be halved under the law.
But prison officials said Hung has a record of good behavior since her imprisonment and is eligible to apply for parole as she has served more than 63 percent of her term.
Hung served the first part of her sentence at Taipei Prison and Taoyuan Prison from January 1999 through March 2001. She was transferred to Kaohsiung Women’s Prison on March 21, 2001.
Known as the most educated inmate at the prison, she teaches her fellow inmates English and other subjects, prison sources said. She has been commended for quitting smoking and winning calligraphy and essay writing competitions.
Prison sources said Hung is looking forward to continuing her graduate studies after her release. They said Hung hopes society will forgive her, allow her to stand on her own two feet and save enough money to meet her obligations to Hsu’s parents.