Sat, Oct 23, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Give teen suspect 30 years: prosecutors

‘REALLY UNHAPPY’:According to the Criminal Code, the suspect, who was 17 and a minor at the time of the murder, cannot receive capital punishment or a life sentence

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  Staff Reporter

Prosecutors yesterday requested the maximum sentence of 30 years in jail for 17-year-old Liao Kuo-hao (廖國豪), who they say admitted to shooting and killing prominent Taichung gangster Weng Chi-nan (翁奇楠) on May 28.

They say Liao, a junior high school dropout who has blamed the education system for his actions, turned himself in in late August, claiming he had shot Weng at point-blank range because he was “really unhappy” that Weng had failed to pay him a NT$4 million (US$130,000) “hitman fee” --following a botched attempt on the life of a local restaurant owner.

Prosecutors said he told them that in January, Weng had handed him three pistols and told him to kill another local mafia boss, a move he called a “suicide mission.” Liao apparently also told prosecutors that another prime motive for killing Weng was that the latter had threatened to turn him over to the authorities after he failed to complete the job.

Concluding their investigation, prosecutors yesterday said they would request the maximum sentence allowed based on the severity of the crime and the -suspect’s age. Under Article 63 of the Criminal Code, Liao, who turned 18 a month after the murder, cannot receive capital punishment or a life sentence, because he was a minor at the time of the crime.

Liao has been in custody at the Taichung Juvenile Detention Center since Aug. 26.

Prosecutors believe Liao, with the assistance of Yang Ding-jung (楊定融), who prosecutors suspect of having orchestrated the assassination, had planned the murder days in advance. Prior to the shooting, Liao traveled to Hsinchu County, where he paid NT$175,000 for a used black Mitsubishi vehicle that is believed to have been used as the getaway car and was later found by police near Sun Moon Lake.

On May 27, the defendant checked into RO Motel, a small establishment in the eastern district of Taichung City, where he took out four semiautomatic pistols and told Lin Ying-hao (林英豪), another alleged accomplice, that he would kill Weng the next day, prosecutors claim. Liao then allegedly handed one of the guns to Lin, who reportedly was to drive the getaway vehicle, saying he might need a gun to defend himself.

The next morning, prosecutors say, Liao waited near Taichung City’s Da-dun 10th Street for Weng to walk into his office. Police said he fired a total of 16 bullets from two pistols, hitting Weng seven times and also critically injuring Lai Jung-chen (賴榮振), who succumbed to his injuries four days later.

In their sentencing statement, prosecutors said they intended to ask for a 20-year sentence for each of the two murders and another four years for each count of attempted murder and illegal possession of firearms. The law limits consecutive sentences to a maximum of 30 years.

Prosecutors were also seeking the death penalty for Yang, the alleged mastermind, who was arrested at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport in June after being deported from Xiamen, China. He allegedly sought refuge there the night of the crime, but has consistently denied being involved in the murder.

In another sentencing statement, prosecutors said they would seek a15-year sentence for Lin. Sentences of between seven months and 15 years would also be sought for the eight other individuals accused of aiding and abetting Liao in the days after the murder.

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