Tseng Wen-chin (曾文欽), who murdered a 10-year-old boy and allegedly said he killed him because he wanted to be imprisoned, was handed a life sentence by the Tainan District Court yesterday.
The boy, surnamed Fang (方), was found dead with his throat cut at a children’s recreation center in Greater Tainan in December last year.
The police tracked down Tseng, who was quoted as saying at the time of his arrest that he killed the boy so he could be sent to prison, and that he had planned to kill more people had he not been arrested. Tseng had also expressed confidence at the time that he would not receive the death sentence for the murder.
The case can be appealed to the Taiwan High Court.
Fang’s aunt, Fang Pei-chi (方珮綺), was upset by the ruling and suffered an emotional breakdown after she stepped out of the courtroom, shouting: “The judicial system is dead” as she held up a picture of her 10-year-old nephew.
“Tseng said following his arrest that he murdered the boy because he had been unemployed for some time and wanted to get free meals in prison, adding that people could commit one or two murders these days without being sentenced to death. He even claimed to have a mental disorder to try to justify his actions,” Fang Pei-chi said.
“However, the court has given him exactly what he wanted by sentencing him to life imprisonment,” she said, adding that she would definitely appeal the case to a higher court and seek justice for her nephew.
Several members of the Taiwan Children’s Rights Association who attended the court hearing also voiced strong indignation at the ruling.
“The verdict makes me wonder whether Tseng or Taiwan’s judicial system is the sick one here,” the association’s chief executive officer Lee Yi-ju (李憶如) said.
Citing a psychiatric analysis of Tseng, Tainan District Court spokesman Lee Hang-lun (李杭倫) said Tseng was diagnosed with minor depression and generalized anxiety disorder, had a below-average IQ and was susceptible to abnormal ways of thinking because of his isolated lifestyle.
“The judge gave the ruling on the grounds that Tseng has not completely lost his humanity and can still be rehabilitated,” Lee Hang-lun said.
When approached by reporters outside the courthouse, Tseng’s father declined to make any comment.
Additional reporting by Rich Chang