Tue, Jan 05, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Artist charged with assisting suicide of wife

TILL DEBT DO US PARTProsecutors said pressure from loan sharks may have played a part in gallerist Chen Ling-hui’s decision to kill herself by asphyxiation

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

After a two-month investigation, Taipei District prosecutors yesterday charged artist Chang Chih-cheng (張志成) with helping his wife Chen Ling-hui (陳綾蕙) commit suicide.

The 42-year-old gallery owner was found dead at her home in Taipei on Nov. 7 last year.

Police reports showed that she died from carbon monoxide poisoning after burning charcoal in her bedroom.

A separate investigation showed that a possible factor in Chen’s suicide was that she was being pressured by loan sharks who were demanding unpaid debts using threats or violence.

After her art gallery experienced financial problems, Chen borrowed a substantial amount of money from a black-market lender who then charged her exorbitant interest rates.

Her husband was investigated after evidence pointed to the possibility that he may have assisted his wife in committing suicide.

Prosecutors said they had evidence that Chang bought the coal his wife used to kill herself.

Chang said his wife was originally going to buy the coal, but because she was not dressed appropriately, he went out and bought it for her. His fingerprints were also found on the tongs with which he allegedly picked up the pieces of coal.

Assisting a suicide is a criminal offense, even if the person assisting was asked to do so by the person who died. It is punishable by up to seven years in prison.

Prosecutors charged Chang with assisting a suicide and requested a two-year prison sentence because they said Chang did not initially own up to his crimes. Prosecutors also said Chang had mild psychological disorders, but they were not serious enough to impair his judgment when committing the alleged crime.

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