TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan prosecutors on Monday (Aug. 24) announced that they have indicted Taiwanese terror suspect An Tso “Edward” Sun (孫安佐) for the illegal manufacture of a firearm.
Sun was detained on March 27, 2018, after a fellow student reported a threat he made to "shoot up" his school in Pennsylvania on May 1. Though he claimed the alleged threat was just a joke, subsequent searches turned up 1,600 rounds of ammunition and a handgun he had built himself, according to police statements.
On March 31 of that year, Sun's celebrity parents Di Ying (狄鶯) and Sun Peng (孫鵬) landed in the U.S. to mount a defense of their son. Though the celebrities' lawyer was able to arrange a plea deal — Sun agreed to apologize for his actions and plead guilty to making "terroristic threats" in exchange for a suspended sentence — in June he was handed over to federal authorities who then charged him with possessing ammunition while on a nonimmigrant visa.
After Sun spent eight months in detention, including five in federal custody, U.S. District Judge Nitza Quinones-Alejandro on Nov. 19, 2018, imposed a "time served" sentence and called for his voluntary and immediate deportation, reported Philly.com. Sun faces a lifetime ban from the U.S. unless he is given special permission in the future.
During the court hearing, the senior Sun pleaded for his son's release, saying that his acting career had been suspended because of the case and that "his mother's health is getting worse and worse, she is deaf in her left ear, and she can hardly sleep each night." The elder Sun said he apologized for the problems his son caused in the U.S., mentioned that a university in Taiwan had admitted him, and asked the judge to give him the chance to rebuild his family and better educate Sun.
In response, Quinones-Alejandro admonished his parents for coddling him by saying, "Once your son is released, I want you to make sure your son grows up and becomes a mature person. You can't continue to shelter him," according to Philly.com.
He was sent back to Taiwan after serving 238 days in prison. At that time, after entering the country, Sun went to the Taiwan Shilin District Prosecutor's Office directly for questioning because he had committed a crime abroad.
After 80 minutes of questioning, prosecutors believed that there was no need to detain him. He was released without bond, but a limitation was placed on his residence, and he was barred from overseas travel.
The prosecution pointed out that when Sun reached the age of 18, he bought a 9mm Glock 19 pistol slide, barrel, recoil spring, polymer80 handgun frame, and other necessary pistol assembly items from different internet vendors from Jan. 7 to Jan. 9 of 2018. However, because he failed to assemble the gun, he hid the parts in his home.
Sun previously stated that he had was not able to assemble the gun because it required special parts and equipment. His defense later argued that he had simply acquired some gun parts but was not attempting to manufacture weapons.
According to Taiwan prosecutors, Sun bought the pistol parts online and tried to assemble the gun from scratch. After cooperation with their U.S. counterparts, repeated questioning of Sun, and obtaining evidence from the U.S., prosecutors believe that Sun attempted to illegally manufacture a handgun in the U.S.
As the case had not been adjudicated by a U.S. court, Taiwan prosecutors say they have jurisdiction.
Prosecutors have concluded that Sun's "combination" of parts is also part of the process of manufacturing firearms. The Taipei Shilin District Prosecutor's Office on Monday indicted Sun for the crime of attempting to manufacture a handgun without permission, which is a violation of Article 7 of the Act Controlling Guns, Knives and Ammunition (槍砲彈藥刀械管制條例), reported UDN.
By the time he had returned to Taiwan, Sun's star parents had burned through NT$100 million in property assets, including an NT$86 million mansion, to pay for their son's legal defense over the past eight months. With the latest indictment, more costly lawyer's fees are surely in the pipeline.