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Taiwan court sentences man to death for arson killing of 8 relatives

Appeals still possible against district court verdict

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8 members of a Hsinchu City family lost their lives in the June 2022 blaze. (Hsinchu City Fire Bureau photo)

8 members of a Hsinchu City family lost their lives in the June 2022 blaze. (Hsinchu City Fire Bureau photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A man accused of setting fire to the family tire shop, causing the deaths of eight relatives, including four children, in Hsinchu City last year was found guilty and sentenced to death Thursday (Sept. 28).

Appeals were still possible against the Hsinchu District Court verdict, the Liberty Times reported. The suspect, Chen Yen-hsiang (陳彥翔), witnessed the court’s decision by video conferencing.

During the evening of June 15 last year, Chen became involved in a dispute with his parents about washing dishes. In a fit of anger, he rode a scooter to buy 20 liters of gasoline, and doused the entire first floor of the tire shop in the fuel.

Once the fire started, Chen’s father could not save the other members of the family, most of whom had been staying on the second floor of the sheet metal building. Chen’s wife, their three children aged 4, 7, and 10, his mother, a sister, a sister-in-law, and a niece aged 1 all perished in the blaze.

Prosecutors had requested a death sentence from the court due to the brutality of the crime. They said there was no possibility of rehabilitation, making capital punishment necessary to maintain social order and safeguard the life and safety of the public, according to the media report.