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August 20, 2017

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Grandmother kills 2 grandsons, attempts suicide

A family tragedy happened early morning in Tainan County, southern Taiwan, when a grandmother killed her two grandsons before slitting her own wrist in an attempt to commit suicide, according to the police.

The grandmother, 55 and named Wu Shu-hui, was found to have killed her two grandsons, aged only 8 and 7, respectively, by burning charcoal, who died after inhaling too much carbon monoxide, the police said.

The tragedy, which occurred at around 2:00 a.m. Sunday in a small village of An Ting Township, Tainan county, was first found by Wu's landlord Hsu Cheng-hsing after Hsu returned from a trip to his hometown Ilan County, eastern Taiwan, for sweeping the tombs of his ancestors.

Hsu told the police that he found Wu sitting unconscious on her bed with a bloodstained knife in hand. Her elder grandson, named Yen Chin-hsuan, lay dead beside Wu, and the younger grandson also lay breathless in another room.

Hsu immediately rushed Wu, who tried to commit suicide by slitting her own wrist after burning charcoal, to the hospital and finally revived her.

The grandmother told the police that she burnt charcoal after her two grandsons fell asleep, but her elder grandson awakened and tried to wake her up. Realizing the elder grandson was still alive, the grandmother used a knife to stab the boy to death before slitting her own wrist.

The grandmother continued that she was forced to kill the two grandsons as the elder one was seriously mentally retarded and the younger one was quite intractable. In addition, her family has long suffered from poor financial capability, and Wu herself got a minor stroke last year, with one hand and one foot paralyzed.

Informed sources said that the father of the two killed boys is making a living by doing odd jobs in northern Taipei and now owes around NT$700,000 in credit-card and cash-card loans to banks. He divorced his wife, leaving his two sons to his mother.

In related news, Premier Su Tseng-chang yesterday urged the country's parents to "live and let live," and call for them "to persist to subsist" when faced with hardship and not to take their children's lives in the event they take their own.

Su issued the calls when acting as a teacher at a local Sunday school. "As long as you are alive there is hope," the premier said while reading a story to a group of children yesterday.

Parents should not consider their children as possessions, Su said, adding that children once born are entitled to live, a right that should not be stolen from them by anyone, even their parents, the premier said.

He said the Ministry of the Interior will work together with local governments to offer financial aid to needy families and individuals in hopes that no one will commit suicide simply because they cannot afford to live.

The Sunday school was organized by a local children's rights organization to mark the group's publication of an illustrated book, "Don't Take Me Away," written to raise public awareness about children's right to live.

The organizers said suicide became one of Taiwan's top ten causes of death last year, and the incidence of parents who kill their children before taking their own lives is widespread in Taiwan.

More than 70 percent of child victims in these cases are under the age of 10 and apparently forced to die along with their parents, the organizers said.

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