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September 23, 2017

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Taiwan's high-speed train bomb suspect gets 22 years

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The New Taipei District Court yesterday sentenced Hu Tsung-hsien (胡宗賢) to 22 years in prison and his accomplice Chu Ya-tung (朱亞東) to 12 years over allegations that they made and placed bombs on a northbound train of Taiwan High Speed Rail and in front of a legislator's office.

The court said Hu in 2011 was indicted by Hsinchu prosecutors for allegedly intimidating a tech company and disclosing confidential information, noting that Hu was unsatisfied with the fiscal imbalance in society and believed that a minority of corporate owners controlled the wealth.

Hu attempted to create a large-scale disaster in the nation by putting the bombs on the train and causing chaos on the stock market so he could reap profit from the incident.

"As a lawyer, instead of walking the right path, Hu used his knowledge to produce highly risky explosives and poisonous gas devices and plant them on a high-speed train and in a busy street, which could endanger the lives of many people," the AFP quoted New Taipei City District Court's statement as saying.

On April 12 last year Hu put several explosive chemical and gas devices in four suitcases and asked Chu to leave two of the suitcases on a high-speed train, the court said. After placing two suitcases on the train, Chu met up with Hu and drove a vehicle to the legislator's office at Tucheng in New Taipei City.

Chu dressed in a police officer's uniform and left another two suitcases at the lawmaker's office, the court said, noting that the suitcases were addressed to Hon Hai Chairman Terry Gou from President Ma Ying-jeou.

Noting that Hu went short on 500 lots of MSCI Taiwan Index futures and set a strike price at 281.2 points via the Internet after placing the bombs, the court said the two subsequently fled to mainland China via Macau on the same day.

Hu and Chu were arrested in Guangdong province on April 14 and were extradited back to Taiwan on April. 16, the court said. Hu lost NT$12.37 million on his investment that anticipated a market panic that did not materialize, and the court later confiscated the remaining NT$2.45 million.

The New Taipei District Court deems that Chu knew the details of Hu's plan, but did not even try to stop the incident from happening; he conspired with Hu, and carried out Hu's plan.

Hu and Chu were convicted on attempted murder charges by the court; both convictions are subject to appeal.

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