Taiwan’s Kaohsiung police break Love River dismemberment case in 40 hours

Suspect traced through surveillance footage, confesses to murder of old man after arrest

Kaohsiung police arrest the suspect of the Love River dismemberment case. (Kaohsiung City Police Department photo) 

Kaohsiung police arrest the suspect of the Love River dismemberment case. (Kaohsiung City Police Department photo) 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The First Precinct of Kaohsiung City's Sanmin District announced on Thursday (June 25) they had cracked the Love River dismemberment case after tracking down the suspect through a review of surveillance footage.

The precinct said the suspect, surnamed Luo (羅), who is unemployed, allegedly strangled the 80-year-old victim, surnamed Wang (王), after Luo's attempts to borrow money from Wang failed, CNA reported. The suspect dismembered the victim, placing the body in two duffel bags, before tossing them into the Love River on June 22.

Weng Shi-min (翁士閔), chief of the Criminal Investigation Squad at the precinct, said at a press conference on Thursday that officers working on the case assumed the suspect dumped the body at night. Therefore, they paid extra attention to late-night surveillance footage around the spot where the body was found.

While reviewing the video, police locked in on a man riding a scooter and acting suspiciously in the early hours of June 22. They then tracked down Luo, 60, to the city's Lingya District, arresting him around 2 a.m. Thursday.

Police impounded as evidence a number of objects belonging to Luo, including his cell phone, a spool of wire from which he allegedly cut segments to bind the victim, and black plastic bags.

According to the police, Wang had been listed as a member of a low-income household since January of this year, receiving a monthly subsidy of NT$14,117 (US$471). Wang became acquainted with Luo in the Love River neighborhood, lending him a total of NT$100,000.

On June 20, Luo observed Wang go to withdraw funds from a bank's ATM, and he proceeded to ask him for a loan at the old man's home, igniting a conflict. Luo allegedly took Wang by the throat in the hope of forcing him to surrender the PIN for his bank card; in the process, Luo strangled Wang to death, according to the police.

Luo confessed that after killing Wang, he went home to fetch kitchen knives and travel bags, returning to Wang's home to dismember him. Surveillance video shows Luo leaving the victim's house carrying two bags early in the morning of June 20.

Two days later on June 22, Luo cast the body into the Love River. The location where the body was stored in the intervening period has not been determined.

Kaohsiung police used the fingerprints of the deceased, along with his DNA, to identify him. Luo's case has been referred to the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office.

National Police Agency (NPA) Director-General Chen Ja-chin (陳家欽) arrived at the precinct Thursday morning to praise the officers for cracking the case in a mere 40 hours.

NPA Director-General Chen Ja-chin at the First Precinct. (CNA photo)