DNA links Singaporean couple to dead newborn dumped in Taiwan

DNA found in Singaporean couple's hotel matches that of dead newborn tossed in kitchen waste container in Taipei

Kuo shopping in Taipei before body of baby found. (New Taipei Police photo)

Kuo shopping in Taipei before body of baby found. (New Taipei Police photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Authorities today announced that DNA collected from blood stains in the hotel room where a Singaporean couple was staying does match that of a newborn baby dumped in a kitchen waste trashcan in Taipei.

DNA samples of blood and hair found in the hotel bathroom where a Singaporean couple had been staying, were found to match the DNA of a newborn baby girl discovered in a food waste container found in New Taipei City last week. Police believe that the baby was born at full term, but the exact cause of death is pending an autopsy.

The suspected parents, a 23-year-old male surnamed Wang (王) and a 24-year-old female, surnamed Kuo (郭) arrived in Taipei on Feb. 19, ostensibly for a "holiday." Staff at the hotel they stayed at in Wanhua District's Ximending (西門町) area said when the couple first checked in, Kuo's abdomen was enlarged, and she appeared to be pregnant.

Site where baby's body was found. (CNA image)

However, when the couple checked out on Feb. 26, Kuo's stomach had "suddenly disappeared" and she appeared weak.

Early on the morning of Feb. 26, the body of the baby was found in a plastic bag in a kitchen waste bucket in New Taipei City's Xindian, when an employee was sorting through waste collected from across Taipei. The worker immediately notified the New Taipei Police, who said the baby was found with the umbilical cord and placenta still intact, and appeared to have been disposed of shortly after birth.

After reviewing surveillance footage of the truck's route, police deduced that the baby had been disposed of in Ximending. Video of the area showed a man tossing a black plastic bag which contained the baby into a kitchen waste container at around 4:00 a.m.

Wang seen on surveillance camera carrying black plastic bag on Feb. 26. (New Taipei Police image)

Police then traced the man's movements and identified the suspect to be a Singaporean national in his 20s (Wang), who had checked into a hotel in Ximending with a Singaporean woman (Kuo), after arriving in Taiwan on Feb. 19. However, when police tried to contact the couple, they had found that they had already returned to Singapore at 4 p.m. on Feb. 26.

When police contacted the parents of the couple, they said that they were unaware of the pregnancy, but confirmed the pair had traveled to Taiwan for a holiday. Wang's parents said that if the allegations were proven, he would have to face the consequences of his actions, but they would seek to prove his innocence if the allegations were unfounded.

Police told CNA on Friday that they suspected that Kuo had given birth in the hotel, as they found traces of blood in the bathroom. Today, DNA results of the blood stains were compared with the DNA of the deceased infant, and they were found to be a match, reported Apple Daily.

Wang seen on surveillance camera carrying black plastic bag on Feb. 26. (New Taipei Police image)

Forensic physicians are planning to perform an autopsy on the female infant tomorrow to determine whether she died before or after childbirth. After the cause of death is determined, they will send the information to the Criminal Investigation Bureau, which is its Singaporean counterpart.

Taiwan's authorities have calling on the couple to return here to help with the investigation and facilitate the DNA test, but have yet to receive a response. Wang told Singaporean media that his girlfriend had never been pregnant, he had never left the hotel at the time of the incident, and did not dispose of anything.

In an interview with Singaporean media, Kuo's father said that his daughter was not pregnant, she did not appear weak, and he did not notice a change in her physical appearance. He insisted that she had a protruding stomach because she was obese.

Surveillance footage of Kuo appearing to be pregnant. (New Taipei City Police image)

The elder Kuo mentioned that his daughter had an abortion in the past, for which he strongly criticized her, but her boyfriend was not Wang at the time. The elder Kuo emphasized that if his daughter had really given birth and abandoned the child's corpse in Taiwan, "she would have to accept the consequences herself."

Although the couple is currently out of reach of Taiwanese law enforcement, Article 3 of Singapore's Penal Code states, "Any person liable by law to be tried for an offence committed beyond the limits of Singapore, shall be dealt with according to the provisions of this Code for any act committed beyond Singapore, in the same manner as if such act had been committed within Singapore." Moreover, Singpore's laws are even more stringent than Taiwan.

If it was a live birth and the baby later died because the couple abandoned her, they may be charged with murder and could face the death penalty.

Photo of Wang posted on Facebook.

Photo of Kuo posted on Facebook.