TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Reports have surfaced that the janitor who confessed to choking a graduate student at National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) to death after she refused his request for an NT$2,000 (US$65) loan had previously been convicted of sexual assault.
The suspect, a 42-year-old male custodian named Lin Jung-fu (林榮富), was put into custody after prosecutors argued that the serious nature of the crime, the strong evidence against him, and the possibility that he might try to flee necessitated his detention.
Lin was arrested at 6 a.m. yesterday morning in Tainan's Rende District for the alleged murder of a NCKU graduate student surnamed Chen (陳) on Sunday (Oct. 28). While being questioned by police, Lin said that he had borrowed NT$1,000 from Chen in the past, but this time when he asked her to lend him NT$2,000, she said, "I'm only a student and you haven't repaid the money I lent last time. I don't have any more money to lend."
An argument ensued, and as Chen started to use stronger language with him, Lin admits that he then shoved a rag in Chen's mouth and started to choke her, but he claims he did not know that she was dead. After Chen went limp, and fearing he would get caught, Lin shoved her body under the sofa and fled the scene.
A report by Apple Daily unearthed a conviction for sexual assault handed down to Lin 16 years ago. According to the report, Lin had followed a "beautiful woman" all the way to her apartment while riding his bicycle on Rende Road.
While pretending to ask her directions, he suddenly grabbed her neck from behind and the woman pretended to be choked unconscious. Lin then reached his hand under the woman's shirt and grabbed her breasts.
The woman screamed out in fear and Lin hopped onto his bike and sped away. Before fleeing, he grabbed the woman's purse.
Lin later confessed to the sexual assault, but denied stealing her purse. He was then sentenced to 8 months in prison for forced obscenity (強制猥褻罪) and robbery.
According to a police investigation, in addition to his criminal record, Lin has been divorced for many years and has one daughter. Incredibly, after the alleged murder of the NCKU student on Sunday, Lin borrowed NT$500 from his ex-wife, according to the Apple Daily report.
After fleeing the scene of the murder at NCKU, police traced Lin's movements with surveillance cameras. He was seen running toward his rental apartment and entering its elevator.
He was then seen taking the elevator down, and was then able to evade police by hiding out in an area across from his apartment. However, by the early morning, he was spotted in front of his former father-in-law's residence, where police apprehended him.
Yesterday afternoon, the police transferred Lin to the Tainan District Prosecutor's Office for further investigation. Late in the evening, after the prosecutor questioned Lin, he believed that the serious nature of the crime, the preponderance of evidence, and the possibility that he could try to flee was ample cause to have Lin detained.
The prosecutor appealed to the Tainan District Court for detention, and early this morning, the judge ordered Lin be kept in custody, but said there was no need to have him held incommunicado.