Inmate in south Taiwan on run after evading police

Inmate escapes from work release program despite soon being eligible for parole

Mingde Minimum-Security Prison. 

Mingde Minimum-Security Prison.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Taiwanese inmate serving time at Tainan's Mingde Minimum-Security Prison escaped from a work release program on Friday (Aug. 14).

The Tainan City Police Department said Monday (Aug. 17) that the inmate, surnamed Lien (連), absconded Friday afternoon from a nearby factory where he had been participating in the work release program. The department said local law enforcement had been able to track Lien down Saturday but that he managed to get away after a car chase ended in a crash and pursuit on foot.

According to the police, the 59-year-old Lien was sentenced to six-and-a-half years for possession of illegal firearms in 2013. After demonstrating good behavior during his imprisonment, Lien was selected for the work release program, which provides inmates with the opportunity to work in the community.

The police said Lien's escape was "unexpected" since he was scheduled to complete his sentence by 2023 and was eligible for parole later this year. They said he had also been granted the privilege to return home once a month and that he could also receive daily visits, reported Liberty Times.

With the manhunt underway, the authorities said they are looking into the motive behind Lien's escape and have contacted his family and friends. Police suspect that the man's flight might be related to an argument he had with his wife, but they said further investigation is needed, reported UDN.

Surveillance footage of Lien's escape. (Mingde Minimum-Security Prison photo)