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Kao: Four deaths in prison incident not suicides

Kao: Four deaths in prison incident not suicides

Noted Taiwanese forensic expert Kao Ta-cheng said Sunday in Tokyo that his view of the outcome of the escape attempt at Kaohsiung Prison on February 12 was very simple. He said that after examining available evidence his conclusion was that of the six inmates who died of gunshot wounds, "at least four did not commit suicide."

Kao made his remarks at a meeting of the Taiwan branch of the Taiwan United Nations Support Organization, stressing that his opinion was strictly his own and was based on what little evidence he could gather from the media.

Kao said the first give-away was that the postures of the six inmates did not appear to be what one would expect in a mass suicide but were rather more like what is usually seen in homicides. For example, when a man shoots himself in the head it will be impossible for his hand to wind up lying on his stomach. If asked to hazard a guess as to what had happened, said Kao, he would say that "two of the six originally wanted to escape and had not counted on the fact that they would be opposed by the other four. As a result they were ‘resolved’ by two of their fellow inmates.”

Kao found the prison warden’s claim that all six had committed suicide “capricious,” adding that the prison version of the whole case was "very problematic."

Kaohsiung Prison Warden Chen Shih-chih has threatened Next magazine with a lawsuit for an article which questioned the veracity of the prison’s version of events. Chen said he would file a suit for NT$5 million in damages if the magazine does not publish a correction of the article, which he said was based on “unfounded reports,” for tarnishing his reputation.

Kao said one explanation that is far more logical is that the six had offered a prison official a bribe to help them escape prison, but were foiled when they took prison personnel hostage. The prison official then decided the inmates had to be eliminated
“Otherwise, how could it happen that all six prisoners, who claimed they were victims of mistrials, would unanimously agree to end the drama by shooting themselves?” asked Kao.

Kao said investigators should examine the firearms the six allegedly used to kill themselves for suspicious fingerprints, in particular those of prison warden Chen.

Chen claimed his suit against Next magazine was not for personal gain, saying that “any compensation I get from the magazine will be donated in full to the prison’s charitable fund and will be used to help financially-deprived prisoners purchase daily necessities.”

Updated : 2021-09-29 00:50 GMT+08:00