Law enforcement officials yesterday said that Chen Hung-tsung (陳宏宗), a wanted fugitive, was killed in a gunfight in a rural area in Chiayi County after he refused to surrender to police.
An initial assessment of Chen’s body showed that he sustained two bullet wounds, with a fatal wound to the head and another to the left calf, Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) Deputy Commissioner Chu Tsung-tai (朱宗泰) said.
Chen, 58, remained in hiding for three years, and was considered dangerous after being listed as a wanted criminal for illegal firearms possession and attempted murder.
Photo copied by Tsai Tsung-hsun, Taipei Times
He was involved in a shooting in 2016 in Yunlin County and in 2017 fired at Tainan County police officers.
Police tracked down Chen’s movements and followed him to a mountain road in Chiayi’s Dapu Township (大埔), Chu said.
When ordered to surrender, Chen fired three shots from his handgun and police officers returned fire with three shots, Chu told a news conference.
The officers from the National Police Agency Special Operations Group pulled Chen out of his vehicle and put handcuffs on him as he struggled, despite bleeding from his head, he said.
However, Chen had lost all vital signs when paramedics arrived 10 minutes later, he added.
One of the bullets fired by Chen penetrated a police cruiser’s windshield and scraped the driver’s forehead, while the other two bullets hit another officer’s protective shield, Chu said.
Police found two modified handguns with 27 bullets in Chen’s vehicle, he said.
Officers from the CIB’s Sixth Brigade over the past few months traced Chen’s movements in the mountainous areas in southern Taiwan, where he reportedly hid in several locations stocked with provisions and had accomplices helping him.
The officers decided to follow Chen after learning that he would drive to Dapu area yesterday morning.
The Sixth Brigade and the Special Operations Group led the operation, with police units from Chiayi, Tainan and Yunlin counties providing backup for a total of 36 officers in police cruisers and two police trucks, Chu said.
An autopsy was being performed on Chen’s body as of press time last night to determine whether he was killed by a police bullet or had committed suicide to avoid capture.
Police also took in a man for questioning on suspicion of helping Chen run supplies and get in contact with the outside.
In related news, Tainan prosecutors on Tuesday dropped charges against police officer Yen Li-cheng (顏利丞) in the shooting death last year of a wanted criminal who ignored Yen’s order to stop and hit two other officers with his vehicle.
Yen, 23, fired four shots into the vehicle driven by Weng Kuo-ming (翁國銘), 55, on April 16 in Tainan, fatally wounding him in the chest.
Weng’s family accused Yen of using excessive force and filed a case against him on charges of professional negligence leading to death.
Prosecutors on Tuesday said that the officers were performing their duty to arrest Weng, who had a criminal record for burglary, involvement in narcotic drugs and gang-related activities.
Yen opened fire to save a fellow officer’s life who was caught in a door of Weng’s vehicle and was being dragged away, they said.
The officers had shown their police IDs to Weng to question him, but he ignored them discharging their duties and attempted to flee, the prosecutors said.
Yen had reasons to fire to stop Weng’s vehicle, as he posed a serious risk of causing injury or death to other police officers and passersby, they said.
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