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June 29, 2017

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Group urges murder suspect be released for retrial

By Sun Hsin Hsuan -- Lin Jin-guei (林金貴), who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2010 for the 2007 murder of Kaohsiung taxi driver Wang Ren-fong (王人鋒), was granted a retrial by the Kaohsiung Branch Court of the Taiwan High Court on Wednesday after new evidence was introduced. Lin is currently in Tainan Prison.

The Taiwan High Prosecutors Office Kaohsiung Branch insisted that Lin be held until prosecutors have decided whether to appeal the ruling granting a new trial. Citing Article 409 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the TIP argued that an interlocutory appeal cannot suspend the execution of a ruling, and that Lin must therefore be released immediately.

In May 2007, Wang was shot in the head by a passenger in his car, who was caught by a surveillance camera fleeing the scene.

The video caught only a blurry image of the suspect's face, but it showed that the suspect had shoulder-length hair.

According to the TIP, Lin's conviction was based on the testimony of one of the victim's acquaintances, who identified Lin as the murderer, but prosecutors found no hair, fingerprint or DNA evidence belonging to Lin in the victim's car.

New evidence submitted by the TIP includes a photo taken two months prior to the murder showing Lin with short hair above the ears.

A hair growth report conducted by the Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital indicated that Lin's hair grew approximately 1 centimeter per month, and thus the likelihood of him having had hair just above the shoulders by the time of the murder was very low.

The case will be the first criminal case granted a retrial by the Taiwan High Court Kaohsiung Branch Court since it was established in 1990.

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