Chen Chin-hsing (
The swift action taken by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) was criticized by human rights groups and legal experts, who have long contended the Act for the Control and Punishment of Banditry (
Amid intense media attention, Chen -- who received three death sentences for a series of killings, robberies, and rapes in 1997 -- was shot to death just after 9:30pm yesterday evening.
PHOTO: HUANG JUI-PO, LIBERTY TIMES
Before his execution, Chen had agreed to donate his heart, lungs, kidneys and corneas to patients in need. His body was removed to Chang Gung Memorial Hospital at Linkuo (
At the same time, there were three others executed in Taipei, Chen Wen-hai (
The three members of the Hsichih Trio case -- which is believed to be seriously flawed by human rights groups because the convictions were obtained on the basis of confessions which the accused men said were extracted under torture -- were also given mandatory death sentences under the same law. However, the three, Su Chien-ho (
Pai Hsiao-yen (白曉燕), the daughter of the popular TV entertainer Pai Ping-ping, was kidnapped and eventually killed after days of torture by Chen and two other men, Lin Chun-sheng (林春生) and Kao Tien-min (高天民), both of whom killed themselves during shootouts with police in August and November 1997, respectively.
Chen, having committed the murder of the teen in April 1997, was also responsible for a string of killings and abductions during the same year -- the abduction of a Taipei County councillor in June, the kidnapping of a businessman in August and the murder of a plastic surgeon, his wife and a nurse at the surgeon's clinic in October.
The night before his arrest on Nov. 19, 1997, Chen held hostage the family of South African military attache Colonel McGill Alexander in a walled compound in northern Taipei. After a 24-hour standoff, Chen finally surrendered himself and ended six months as a fugitive.
Last December the Supreme Court finalized three death sentences on Chen for the string of crimes. However, the Supreme Court, Taiwan's highest court of appeal, requested a review of Pai's murder because of doubts as to whether or not Chen's brother-in-law Chang Chih-hui (
After its review of the bloody kidnapping and murder, the Taiwan High Court reaffirmed Chen's death sentence on Sept. 23 this year and determined that Chen's execution -- under the previous three finalized sentencings -- would not affect judgement on Chang's case.
Justice Minister Yeh Chin-feng (
Execution under the bandit law has been a thorny issue for the MOJ, given the controversy surrounding the law. In August, the Council of Grand Justices, the island's judicial review authority, rejected an appeal for a reinterpretation of the validity of the bandit law, referring disputes over its validity to the legislature.
When the bandit law was promulgated in 1944 it had a "sunset clause" attached, which abolished the law after one year unless the legislature renewed it.
Arguably, this was not done in time in 1945 and the law therefore lapsed. Nevertheless, the legislature -- some claim unconstitutionally -- extended the law annually over the 13 years that followed and finally deleted the sunset clause in 1957, allowing the law to stand in perpetuity.
Legal scholars and lawyers have argued that on four occasions before 1957 the legislature failed to extend the law as required. They have urged the government to declare the law invalid and called on Yeh to postpone signing the execution order on these eleven people.
However, having obtained detailed records from the legislature, the ministry claimed the documents have verified the law-making process concerning the act and thus the executions are justifiable.
Chen Chin-hsing's wife, Chang Su-chen (
See also: Today's Editorial
NOT BUYING IT: One of the goals of Beijing’s Cross-Strait Media People Summit was to draw mainstream media executives to discuss the ‘one country, two systems’ formula Taiwanese news media insist on press freedom and professionalism, and would never become a tool of China’s “united front” campaign, Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said yesterday, responding to media queries about the lack of Taiwanese media executives at the Cross-Strait Media People Summit in Beijing. Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Chairman Wang Huning (王滬寧) was reportedly furious that no Taiwanese media representatives attended a scheduled meeting with him on Thursday last week. “Beijing should take Taiwan’s determination to pursue freedom and democracy seriously. We also hope that it will not use vicious means to interfere with Taiwan’s development into a
IMMIGRATION REFORM: The legislative amendments aim to protect the rights of families to reunify, and to attract skilled professionals to stay and work in Taiwan Foreigners who are highly skilled professionals, top-prize winners in professional disciplines, investment immigration applicants or have made special contributions to Taiwan can soon apply for permanent residency on behalf of their spouses and minor or disabled children after the legislature approved amendments to the Immigration Act (入出國及移民法). The amendments, which were proposed by the Ministry of the Interior and approved by the Executive Yuan on Jan. 12, aim to attract foreign talent to Taiwan and encourage them to stay. They would take effect once they are signed by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). The amendments involved changing 63 articles, making it the biggest
FIRST STEP: Business groups in Taiwan welcomed the deal, which does not include tariff reductions at this stage, as they called for the elimination of double taxation Taiwan and the US yesterday signed an initial agreement under the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade. The agreement was signed yesterday morning by Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) and American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Managing Director Ingrid Larson in Washington, the Office of Trade Negotiations in Taipei said. The ceremony was witnessed by Minister Without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) and Deputy US Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi. Taiwan and the US started talks under the initiative in August last year, after Taipei was left out of the Washington-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. “The deal that will be signed tonight is not only very historic,
Beijing yesterday blamed US “provocation” for an incident last week in which a Chinese plane crossed in front of a US surveillance aircraft over the South China Sea. The incident came at a time of frayed ties between Washington and Beijing over issues including Taiwan and the shooting down of an alleged Chinese spy balloon that flew over the US this year. “The United States’ long-term and frequent sending of ships and planes to conduct close surveillance on China seriously harms China’s national sovereignty and security,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mao Ning (毛寧) said when asked about the latest incident. “This