Five convicts executed
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-04-29 05:11 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Five executions took place Tuesday evening, the first since Luo Ying-shay took office as justice minister last September.

The minister had signed an order for executions, the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported on its web site Tuesday afternoon. Early reports mentioned there could be between five and seven convicts facing the firing squad later in the day. Taiwan’s death row counted a total of 52 people, reports said.

It was announced later that a total of five people had been executed at four locations around 6:42 p.m., reports said.

The convicts included Tai Wen-ching, 49, in Hualien, reports said. He was found guilty of raping and killing two female taxi drivers during two days of penitentiary leave in 2002. He had been sentenced to life for murder in 1990.

Brothers Tu Ming-hsiung and Tu Ming-lang were executed in Tainan. They were found guilty of having worked with their father to kill two Taiwanese business people and three People’s Republic of China citizens in China. They were arrested in Taiwan after having returned to the country with money they stole from the business people, reports said. Their father died in prison in 2010.

Gang member Teng Kuo-liang, 49, was found guilty of drugging and drowning a woman debtor and her nine-year-old son. He was executed at the Taipei Prison, reports said.

In Taichung, the executed convict was Liu Yen-kuo, 46, a frequent robber who killed a police officer and a woman on one of his sprees in 1997, reports said. According to prison management, he had written a letter to the justice minister asking for a quick execution.

When Luo took office as minister last September 30, she faced questions from reporters and lawmakers about whether she would be willing to sign off on executions, and she replied she would if necessary.

Lin Hsinyi, the representative of an alliance for the abolition of the death penalty, first said she hoped the reports were a misunderstanding. If they were not, then the government and the Ministry of Justice were to be condemned, she wrote online.

Executions under Luo’s predecessor, Minister Tseng Yung-fu, came under fire from domestic and overseas human rights activists, who said they tarnished Taiwan’s international image as a democracy. Foreign experts who visited the country to review its implementation of international human rights accords also lashed out at the continuing executions.

Recent reports accused the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou of planning executions in order to divert attention from the frequent protests against the trade-in-services pact with China and against the fourth nuclear plant.

Despite criticism from human rights activists, the death penalty still enjoys widespread support, opinion polls show.

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