U.S. federal prosecutors want Taiwan terror suspect to serve 15 to 21 months in jail

Verdict scheduled for November 19

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An Tso Sun at a court appearance last May.

An Tso Sun at a court appearance last May. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Ahead of a verdict expected on November 19, federal prosecutors in the United States wanted Taiwanese student An Tso “Edward” Sun (孫安佐) to serve between 15 and 21 months in prison for illegal possession of ammunition, reports said Saturday.

The son of celebrities Di Ying (狄鶯) and Sun Peng (孫鵬) was detained in late March after a fellow student reported a threat he made of planning a mass shooting at his school in Pennsylvania on May 1. Subsequent searches turned up 1,600 rounds of ammunition and a handgun he built himself, according to police statements.

As Sun, 18, has already spent eight months in detention, his attorney will ask for his release and deportation as soon as he finishes his prison term, the Central News Agency reported.

In August, he pleaded guilty to a federal firearm charge, and a judge later set the time and date for a verdict at 10 a.m. on November 19, which corresponds to 11 p.m. Taiwan time the same day.

Prosecutors said that Sun knew that as an exchange student he did not have the right to buy guns and ammunition, yet within two months of his arrival in the U.S., he started visiting a shooting range in Philadelphia, and he rented guns and bought ammunition online which he stashed in his bedroom, according to CNA.

While there was no sufficient evidence to prove that he was indeed planning an attack on his school, his “joke” still created anxiety, so Sun needed more time to reflect on his words and realize the seriousness of gun crime, prosecutors said.

The maximum penalty for the charge he faces is 10 years in prison, or a fine of US$250,000 (NT$7.6 million) and three years of supervised release, CNA reported.