Landlord jailed over tenant’s arson death

RENT ARGUMENT::Judges said that Chan Te-jung received a life term because of the painful way in which the tenant had died and because he had not paid compensation

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Sep 07, 2018 - Page 3

The Shilin District Court yesterday sentenced a landlord to life in prison for murder after he set his apartment building alight, killing one of the tenants. It was the first ruling and can be appealed.

More than 20 years ago, Chan Te-jung (詹德榮), 67, rented a plot of land on Guisui Street in Taipei from the Bank of Taiwan, prosecutors said.

He built a small set of apartments on it, which he rented to three tenants, charging them NT$2,000 to NT$4,000 per month, they said.

However, due to rising property prices and because of pressure from the bank, Chan sought to increase the rent, they said.

One tenant, surnamed Cheng (鄭), did not want to pay more and refused to move out, leading to an argument, prosecutors said.

On the morning of April 2, Chan used a plastic bottle filled with gasoline to set the building alight, they said.

Cheng was not inside at the time, but another tenant, surnamed Huang (黃), was asleep in the building and died in the blaze, they said.

Chan said that he was angry at Cheng for refusing to pay more, prosecutors said.

He intended to send Cheng a warning with a small fire and did not intend to burn down the apartment or harm the tenants, they said.

The judges said that Chan was sentenced to life in prison because of the painful way in which Huang had died and because he had not paid compensation to those affected by the crime.