TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- An angry lynch mob of 300 vigilantes last night (May 24) ransacked the Changhua home of a man suspected of killing and molesting his 5-year-old niece when they believed that he had been released from police custody, reported Apple Daily.
Last night, a rumor spread on Facebook that the suspect, surnamed Yang (楊), was already going to be released on bail, and though this was false information, it was repeatedly shared on the social media platform. By 9 p.m. last night, an angry mob of 300 (with some reports saying 500) vigilantes had surrounded Yang's house in Changhua County's Tianwei Township, with some reportedly coming as far away as Tainan and Chiayi to seek revenge for the girl.
The hysteric crowd broke their way into Yang's home where they smashed furniture with baseball bats, shattered windows, set off fireworks and tossed about hell money to curse the family. Fearing for her life, Yang's mother fled to the nearby police station, and a large part of the mob followed her to call for her son's release so they could exact their vengeance.
After being dissuaded by police, the enraged horde returned to Yang's home to continue to wreak havoc until 1 a.m. this morning. Much of the chaos was streamed live on Facebook.
Meanwhile, another rumor spread that Yang would be at the mortuary, where an autopsy was being carried out on the body of the little girl. Another agitated mob of around 50 soon surrounded the building and they refused to leave until 11 a.m. this morning.
Following the chaos, police this morning arrested a 20-year-old man surnamed (吳) and a 30-year-old man surnamed Huang (黃) and seized two baseball bats, which they suspect the men used to smash furniture in Yang's home. Police also arrested a 28-year-old man surnamed Chiu (邱) who allegedly on Facebook posted a rumor reading "Bail? Let's gather, let's gather, and go and get him..."
Police allege that Chiu also live-streamed the riot and are charging him with inciting violence.
According to police, the deceased girl was born when her mother surnamed Lin was only 17. When Lin divorced her husband, Lin took care of her daughter with her older sister. But after Lin got remarried, she placed her daughter under the care of her sister and her sister’s 24-year-old husband surnamed Yang, police said.
The girl lived in Tianwei Township and had reportedly endured long-term physical abuse at the hands of her uncle Yang. She was transferred to Changhua Christian Hospital from a local hospital Tuesday afternoon (May 22) in critical condition after suffering an alleged attack by Yang. She suffered from an anal fissure, intracerebral hemorrhage, and new and old marks of injuries were found in many parts of her body, according to media reports.
Even though the hospital’s medical team had tried its best to save the little girl’s life, she still succumbed to the severe injuries and died of cardiorespiratory failure at 4:37 p.m. on Wednesday (May 23). The girl’s mother and grandmother were at her side and put her in beautiful clothes, wishing her to be a happy angel in heaven.
Despite the online rumors, Police say that Yang is still in custody and his charge has been changed from attempted murder to murder as the girl died since he was initially arrested.
Video of vigilantes ransacking suspect's home:
Huge crowd gathered outside of the police station: