Two men accused of a failed attack on a high-speed rail train and outside a lawmaker’s office in April last year were given heavy sentences yesterday by the New Taipei City (新北市) District Court.
Defendants Hu Tsung-hsien (胡宗賢) and Chu Ya-tung (朱亞東), Hu’s aide, were sentenced to jail terms of 22 years and 12 years respectively on charges of attempted murder, attempted arson and forgery.
Hu and Chu were sentenced for placing suitcases containing incendiary devices on northbound high-speed rail train No. 616 and outside Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lu Chia-chen’s (盧嘉辰) office in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Tucheng District (土城).
Hu left suitcases containing flammable substances in front of Lu’s office with a note which had the name of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) written on it and said the suitcases were to be given to Hon Hai Group chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘), the ruling said.
After Hu placed the devices on the high-speed train, he placed an order to short-sell 500 shares. All four bombs failed to explode due to either mishandling on Chu’s part or design flaws, the court said.
The two men fled Taiwan to China after planting the incendiary devices.
Chinese authorities — with the aid of facial recognition software — apprehended the pair in Guangdong days later and repatriated them to Taiwan.
The district court said the two men can appeal the ruling to the Taiwan High Court.
The ruling said Hu’s attempt to attack a high-speed train which could have caused serious casualties was “evil.”
The ruling said that by arguing that the devices in the pieces of luggage would not cause a lot of damage and that he wanted to express his dissatisfaction with the state of society Hu had not shown any remorse for his actions.
The court added Hu, who is not only a lawyer but also holds certificates in the fields of chemistry and finance, did not simply want to express his dissatisfaction with society, but attempted to gain personal profit from short-selling various stocks prior to the attempted attack.
The court said Hu had spent a lot of time looking up Clostridium botulinum (a toxin-producing bacterium) and how to remotely detonate incendiary devices using a mobile phone, the court said.
During questioning, Chu agreed to cooperate with investigators and to reveal what he knew of Hu’s how dangerous those plans had been to Chu himself.
Chu said he did not know the suitcases contained incendiary devices until he smelled gasoline, adding that he had asked Hu after getting off the train whether the stakes were not too high.
Chu had been in great danger while placing the suitcases, police said, adding that they suspected that Hu had intended for Chu to take the fall for him.
Police said that if Chu had died Hu might have escaped arrest because of insufficient evidence, adding that it might have worked, as Chu was the last link in the plot.
Additional reporting by staff writer