In a final decision yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that former death row inmate Hsu Tzu-chiang (徐自強) was not guilty of the 1995 kidnap and murder of a businessman, rejecting an appeal by prosecutors to end a case that has bounced around the court system for more than two decades and become one of the nation’s highest-profile human rights cases.
Prosecutors had appealed a High Court decision last year to overturn Hsu’s guilty verdict.
Accompanied by lawyers and supporters, Hsu fought back tears at a news conference in Taipei yesterday afternoon.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
“When I heard the ruling, it felt unreal to me; maybe I had heard it wrong,” Hsu said. “My mother will celebrate her birthday soon, and this will be the best gift she could get, because over the past 21 years, she has suffered the most.”
“I wanted to give up this fight, as I had given up on the justice system, but my family and my lawyers persisted; they did not want to give up,” Hsu said. “Some people asked if I had bad fortune, but I do not think so, because I feel lucky to be able to walk out of prison.”
Hsu was originally convicted of the September 1995 kidnap and murder of Huang Chun-shu (黃春樹), whose kidnappers sought a ransom of NT$70 million (US$2.2 million at current exchange rates).
Two men, Huang Chun-chi (黃春棋) and Chen Yi-lung (陳憶隆), who were convicted as being the main perpetrators and sentenced to death, had claimed in their trials that Hsu was an accomplice.
Hsu’s saga saw him handed the death sentence nine times and a term of life imprisonment twice, while there were five extraordinary appeals.
He was incarcerated for 16 years, spending most of the time on death row, before being released on May 19, 2012.
WHEELING AND DEALING? Hou You-yi, Ko Wen-je, Eric Chu and Ma Ying-jeou are under investigation for allegedly offering bribes for the other side to drop out of the race Taipei prosecutors have started an investigation into allegations that four top politicians involved in attempts to form a “blue-white” presidential ticket have contravened election regulations. Listed as defendants are Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate and New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the KMT and Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲). The case stemmed from judicial complaints filed last month with the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office alleging that the KMT (blue) and the TPP (white) had engaged in bribery by offering money or other enticements
COUNTER DISINFORMATION: More engagement and media literacy are needed to push back against misinformation and claims that the US is an unreliable partner, the AIT director said The US is “confident” that Taiwan does not face an imminent threat of a Chinese invasion, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Sandra Oudkirk told a US public radio show, adding that Washington remains committed to defensively arming the nation. She made the comment during an interview on All Things Considered, broadcast on Friday on US-based National Public Radio. “There is an important distinction between making plans and training troops, and getting ready to do something,” Oudkirk said, on whether she thinks Beijing plans to attack Taiwan in the near future. Chinese officials have told Washington that “their preference is for peaceful reunification,
EXPOSED: Some Taipei wardens reported joining the trips out of peer pressure, while others said they were relieved it was made public so they could refuse, a city councilor said Nearly 30 percent of Taipei borough wardens have joined group tours to China that were partially funded by the Chinese government, leading prosecutors probing potential Chinese interference in January’s elections to question local officials, an investigation showed. Democratic Progressive Party Taipei City councilors Chien Shu-pei (簡舒培) and Chen E-jun (陳怡君) have reported cases of Taipei borough wardens inviting residents to join inexpensive privately organized group tours to China that were partially funded by the Chinese government. The six-day trips reportedly cost NT$10,000 to NT$15,000, the councilors said. An investigation by the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) showed that nearly 30 percent
ELIGIBLE FOR JANUARY: All presidential candidates and their running mates meet the requirements to run for office, and none hold dual citizenship, the CEC said Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Legislator and vice presidential candidate Cynthia Wu (吳欣盈) is working with the Central Election Commission (CEC) to resolve issues with her financial disclosure statement, a spokesman for the candidate said yesterday, after the commission published the statements of all three presidential candidates and their running mates, while confirming their eligibility to run in the Jan. 13 election. Wu’s office spokesman, Chen Yu-cheng (陳宥丞), said the candidate encountered unforeseen difficulties disclosing her husband’s finances due to being suddenly thrust into the campaign. She is also the first vice presidential nominee to have a foreign spouse, complicating the reporting of