• Directory of Taiwan

Official report on Kaohsiung Prison incident due March 4

Official report on Kaohsiung Prison incident due March 4

Minister of Justice Luo Ying-shay confirmed Monday that the investigations of the Kaohsiung prison hostage incident on February 12 had shown "no indication of a seventh inmate" involved in the attempted escape. Luo added that punishments or adjustments in personnel or operations at the prison will not be decided upon until a final report on the incident is released and the Corrections Agency has discussed what happened and repercussions for the facility. Luo said the report and possible punishments would be available by March 4 at the latest.

Kaohsiung Prison warden Chen Shih-chi admitted that he had been carrying a 9mm pistol when he finally emerged from the holding facility after a long night of standoffs and negotiations. Chen had originally denied that he had been holding a weapon at the time, but the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office (KDPO) confirmed on Monday that Chen had indeed been holding a 9mm pistol when he came out of the prison.

The KDPO also confirmed that the initial autopsy report had shown that the cause of death for all inmates was a single gunshot wound and that the evidence pointed to the conclusion that each of the six had committed suicide. The report included details such as the fact that two of the inmates were left-handed and had used their left hands to inflict the fatal wound.

Warden Chen won plaudits following the end of the hostage incident for his actions in offering himself as a hostage in place of other personnel. As details of the events began to emerge, however, his image lost some of its luster and the Justice Ministry’s final report will show whether he is to be seen as a hero or a heel in the incident.

Chen has said that he has retained a lawyer to protect his reputation from misrepresentation in the media. He stressed that he will resort to legal action if necessary but is confident that justice will prevail and the truth about the incident will come out. He added that any blame and punishment for administrative negligence will be assessed by the Ministry of Justice, noting that he will not attempt to evade responsibility for what happened during the incident.

Chief prosecutor Huang Yuan-kuan of the KDPO revealed that Deputy Warden Lai Jung-cheng of Kaoshiung Prison has admitted that two vehicles had been readied and put into position for use by the six inmates to make their escape if necessary. Huang added that a separate investigate will be carried out regarding this aspect of the case.

Huang said that near the end of the incident inmate Huang Tsu-yan handed a pistol to Warden Chen, then used a second loaded gun to kill himself. Inmate Chin Yi-ming then picked up Huang’s pistol and shot himself in the head, thus the barrel of the pistol clutched in Chin’s right hand was found to contain the DNA from two different persons.

Huang also commented on media claims that a seventh inmate had been involved in the escape attempt. He said that prosecutors and police have examined the evidence related to such claims and say that there is no indication whatsoever of the presence of a seventh inmate at the scene.

Justice Minister Luo Ying-shay informed reporters that the ministry had decided that images and data from monitoring and surveillance systems throughout the prison will not be made public for the moment. She explained that the data is evidence in an ongoing investigation and as such is too sensitive to be released at this point. Luo said the Control Yuan is also involved in investigation of the incident, and all available images and data will be forwarded to the Yuan for analysis and interpretation.

The autopsy report noted that the six inmates placed the muzzles of their pistols against their temples while seated on the ground, thus their arms and weapons naturally fell forward onto their abdomens and not to the rear. This version of the final act in the inmate drama corresponds with testimony and evidence collected from snipers and their recording equipment on the scene.

Updated : 2021-09-19 03:20 GMT+08:00