Wed, Aug 09, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Grenade blast results in a 15-year prison sentence

WEAPONS STASH:Chueh Li-tsung was reportedly in charge of the Bamboo Union’s arsenal in New Taipei City, where CIB agents found materials for making explosives

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Four people were convicted by the Shilin District Court yesterday in a case stemming from a grenade blast in New Taipei City in May last year, with one man sentenced to 15 years in prison for manufacturing explosive devices and possession of illegal weapons.

Chueh Li-tsung (闕立宗), 33, an alleged member of the Bamboo Union gang, was also ordered to pay a NT$1 million (US$33,111) fine.

Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) agents said Chueh was a key figure for Bamboo Union branches in northern Taiwan, and was in charge of the gang’s arsenal in New Taipei City’s Sijhih District (汐止).

They found he had rented a residence with storage space, where agents discovered a weapons stash, including a 9mm pistol, an M4A1 assault rifle, 114 bullets and materials for making explosives.

Bureau officials said the assault rifle, which had an underground market value of more than NT$1 million, had likely been smuggled into Taiwan and modified to accommodate locally made bullets.

The court said Chueh’s girlfriend, surnamed Kao (高), and two other men provided assistance for the storage of illegal weapons and explosive devices, and they were given suspended sentences and fines that ranged from NT$60,000 to NT$80,000.

The CIB launched an investigation after Chueh sustained severe injuries to his right hand after a grenade he was transporting along with other firearms exploded while he was at Sijhih’s Lotus Hill (水蓮山莊).

Authorities were very concerned after discovering triacetone triperoxide (TATP) and other powders, which they believed indicated that Chueh had learned to make bombs using TATP, which has been favored by terrorists in other nations.

Chueh called his girlfriend and two associates after he was injured, telling them to go to the storage facility and remove the firearms.

CIB officials said they suspected the trio had been able to move some of the weapons cache before it was searched by law enforcement.

The court said Chueh deserved a heavy punishment because he “was found to have engaged in the manufacturing of explosive devices, which had the potential to cause large-scale damage, putting people and property in danger and seriously undermining public safety.”

It was the first ruling on the case, and can still be appealed.

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