Defense ministry says sorry for not finding murderer

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Apr 04, 2013 - Page 4

The Ministry of National Defense has apologized to the family of a girl who was murdered at a military base in 1996 for failing to find the killer, Deputy Minister of Defense Kao Kuang-chi (高廣圻) said yesterday.

The Taiwan High Court on Tuesday found Hsu Jung-chou (許榮洲) not guilty of the rape and murder of the five-year-old girl — a crime that led to the wrongful execution of airman Chiang Kuo-ching (江國慶) — and ordered Hsu’s release.

The High Court’s acquittal left the question of who the real murderer was unanswered.

Kao told the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee meeting that the ministry felt deeply sorry and apologized again to the victim’s family for failing to resolve the case.

The military will launch a new round of investigations into the case if Hsu is found not guilty in the final ruling, Kao said.

Hsu’s attorney, Chen Yi-hsun (陳益軒), said it was too early to consider filing a lawsuit asking for compensation for the wrongful detention of Hsu before a final verdict is made.

In the first trial, the Taipei District Court ruled that on Sept. 12, 1996, Hsu, an airman assigned to the Air Force Command, saw the girl, surnamed Hsieh (謝), watching TV alone at a restaurant at the base.

It said he led the girl to a washroom and then took off her clothes before brutally assaulting her and that, to stifle the girl’s cries, he put his hand over her mouth and nose, smothering her.