The Taipei District Court yesterday sentenced a man to 15 years in prison for killing two of his tenants.
The 67-year-old landlord of a residential housing complex on Heping W Road in Taipei, surnamed Wang (王), became angry after demanding unpaid rent from one of his male tenants, surnamed Kuo (郭), in August.
Wang and Kuo, who was drunk at the time, became embroiled in a heated argument during which Wang grabbed a container of gasoline from his motorcycle, splashed it on the tenant and set him on fire. As Kuo fled the building, the landlord pursued his tenant and beat him with a water pipe.
Wang had unwittingly also splashed gasoline into one of the other rooms in the building, fueling a fire that quickly spread. A female tenant failed to make it out of the room in time and died at the scene.
Kuo died two months later in hospital after suffering second and third-degree burns over more than 90 percent of his body.
During prosecutors’ questioning and court hearings, Wang admitted guilt and said he knew what he did was wrong.
He also fell on his knees as he apologized to Kuo’s family.
In handing down the prison sentence, district judges considered extenuating circumstances such as Wang showing remorse for actions and that he had given himself up to authorities after the incident. In addition, the judges said that because of Wang’s age, he would have very few years left of his life once he leaves prison, based on the average life expectancy.
The ruling is not final and can be appealed.
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