Tue, Apr 05, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Captain gets life in jail for murdering his crew members

HEALING WOUNDS:The Supreme Court said that it sentenced the man to life in prison rather than to death because his family had paid compensation

By Rich Chang  /  Staff Reporter

The captain of a fishing boat operating from Pingtung was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of three Indonesian crew members in 2008.

In its ruling on Friday, the Supreme Court said that in April 2008, Tsai Chih-chang (蔡志彰), 37, was operating as captain and at sea with seven Indonesian men he had hired.

Angered by an Indonesian crew member’s failure to help the other crew members haul a large fish on board, Tsai pushed the man into the water, where he drowned, the court said.

The other Indonesian crew members, who were looking on, asked Tsai to turn around and immediately return to Pingtung.

ALTERCATION

However, on their way back to Pingtung, Tsai had an altercation with another crew member and stabbed the man in the stomach with a knife, killing him, the court ruled.

As witnesses fled the cabin, Tsai stabbed another man to death and injured another, the court said.

After the murders, Tsai locked himself in the navigation room and radioed his wife, saying the Indonesian crew had “mutinied” and that his life was in danger, the court said.

Tsai also fired a signal shot for rescue.

THE REAL VICTIMS

A Coast Guard Administration ship sailing nearby soon approached Tsai’s boat and determined that contrary to Tsai’s claims, the Indonesian crew members were the victims.

Coast guard officers brought the Indonesians on board their vessel and accompanied Tsai and his boat to a harbor in Kaohsiung.

The final verdict said that because Tsai’s family represented him in negotiations with the families of the victims and provided the families with ample compensation, the court had decided to sentence him life imprisonment rather than impose the death penalty.

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