Alleged killer of 10-year-old may face death penalty
By Ann Yu ,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Prosecutors indicted a male suspect on a murder charge yesterday over the death of a 10-year-old boy, and said they are seeking the death penalty.
January 10, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
The Tainan District Prosecutors Office's (TDPO) indictment stated that the alleged suspect was cruel, cold-blooded and should be isolated permanently for the safety of society.
The 29-year-old alleged murderer, identified as Tseng Wen-chin, reportedly claimed that Taiwan's judicial system could not sentence him to death over a single murder. He made these comments after he was arrested on the same day of the crime, which sparked intense public outrage.
According to the indictment, Tseng admitted that he planned the killing so he would go to prison for life, a solution to his long-term unemployment.
Prosecutors said that Tseng lured the 10-year-old boy, surnamed Fang, to the restroom at the back of a gaming arcade on Nov. 30 on the pretense of giving him valuable gaming cards that were stored there. Fang followed Tseng to the restroom, where he was trapped in a stall. His throat was then slashed and he died almost immediately, prosecutors claim.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Taiwan is a signatory, states that countries that have not abolished the death penalty can only levy a death sentence for the “most serious crimes.”
The TDPO said that Taiwan still categorizes capital punishment as a viable criminal sentence, and since Tseng's comments about his motives over the alleged murder showed no signs of regret, the crime was considered a “most serious crime.”
After it was revealed that Tseng would likely face the death penalty, Fang's father said that he was happy that society still holds a sense of justice. Fang said he was worried that human rights activists who are against the death penalty would lead the prosecutor to advocate a more lenient sentence.
As the capital punishment issue raged on in Taiwan over six executions before the end of 2012, Tseng's comments about capital punishment brought the issue to the social forefront. One poll suggests that more than 70 percent of the population are against abolishing the death penalty.
The executions resulted in two internationally renowned scholars' refusal to examine Taiwan's human rights report. Minister of Justice Tseng Yung-fu explained that after the execution, Taiwanese officials wrote explanatory reports to the scholars and both sides have reached a mutual understanding.