Man who allegedly faked his own death for insurance money returned to Taiwan
CNATAIPEI -- A man who was accused of faking his own death and that of his wife in 2001 to collect NT$64.82 million (US$2.20 million) in life insurance was escorted back to Taiwan from China by police Sunday.
October 28, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
Hsu Wen-tung, 66, was found when his wife died of a heart attack in Jiangsu Province, China in May this year and their children tried to have the body returned to Taiwan for burial, the police said.
After almost five months of negotiations with Chinese law enforcement authorities, Taiwan police were able to bring Hsu back to Taiwan at 3:45 p.m. Sunday.
Hsu and his wife allegedly fled to China with fake passports and had been living there under false identities since 2005 after defrauding an insurance company of a huge sum of money.
The couple used to run a construction business that accumulated tens of millions of Taiwan dollars in debt.
During a typhoon in July 2001, they faked a car crash on the northeastern Coastal Highway toward Yilan and were reported missing, with the help of their children, according to police.
Their wrecked car was found the next day off the roadway, apparently having fallen from the highway at the 84 kilometer mark, but there were no bodies in the vehicle, police said.
Police said the couple hid in a rented flat in New Taipei for four years before fleeing to China.
Meanwhile, their three children, listed as beneficiaries on the couple's life insurance policies, sought to have their parents legally declared dead and to claim the insurance payments for accidental death.
Cathay Life Insurance Co., which had sold the couple the policies in 1993, sued the children for fraud, citing weather data, eyewitness reports and police evidence.
The courts, however, ruled in favor of the children, saying the two bodies may have washed into the ocean after the car crash, and instructed the company to pay the claims of NT$64.82 million.
Because the legal retroactive period in Taiwan regarding fraud and forgery is 10 years, Hsu and his children might be able to avoid criminal prosecution.
The insurance company, however, could seek a retrial of the case, based on the Code of Civil Procedure, if it has new evidence, according to legal experts.
Hsu Wen-tung, a man accused of faking his own death and that of his wife in 2001 for insurance money, is seen in this photo taken at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport ...