What you need to know
Prosecutors have charged Wang Ching-yu, 33, with murder and have sought the death penalty.
Translated and compiled by Bing-sheng Lee
The investigation into the March killing of a four-year-old girl in Taipei closed on May 23. The prosecutors of Shi Lin District Prosecutors Office charged Wang Ching-yu, 33, with murder and have sought the death penalty.
Prosecutors made the decision on the grounds that medical examinations have shown that Wang did not suffer from a mental disorder when he committed the crime.
Investigators issued a statement, saying that the request for death sentence is based on the facts that the crime caused public panic and distrust, the killer has not shown regret over what he did, nor has he apologized to the victim’s family. This shows “he has a vile criminal nature, would be difficult to rehabilitate and should be separated permanently from society.”
In response to the statement, the victim’s mother told media that she and her family will continue to look for the real cause of the murder, and they want to stop a similar tragedy from happening in the future. Before the family knows the true cause or motivation behind the crime, they will not hastily agree with the prosecutors office or the court, the mother adds.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Yu Mei-nu says that international terrorist attacks plaguing many countries have shown that a responding to crime with violence may not resolve the issue.
Yu says she understands public concern about the case, but says the death penalty is not the only solution to the so-called random killings in recent years. She thinks that people should care more about their families, communities, education system and social minorities.
Huang Wei-che, a DPP legislator, says judges should treat the “random killers” with a more rigid standard because they seriously undermine public trust. He also says that stricter laws can improve social order effectively.
Another DPP legislator, Yen Sheng-kuan, says she supports the death penalty and that under current circumstances, it is impossible for Taiwan to abolish capital punishment.
A four-year-old girl was slain in a random attack in Neihu District, Taipei, on the morning of March 28.
The killer, a 33-year-old unemployed man who is not related to the victim and her family, randomly attacked the girl from behind her while she was riding on a toddler bike with her mother about one meter away. The two were on their way to a metro station.
The murderer slit the girl’s neck and decapitated her with a kitchen knife after he grabbed the girl from behind. The girl’s mother was just several steps away from the girl, but she was unable to stop the killer in time. They called for help immediately and people nearby brought the perpetrator down moments later.
The police then arrived at the scene and took the situation under control. They arrested the murderer and took him back to the police station for interrogation.
According to the police, the killer has a criminal record of drug abuse.
Yang Kun-ming, the squadron chief of the Taipei City Police Department Neihu Precinct, says that more investigation is needed to find out the killer’s motivation for committing the crime.
In a brief media session, the victim’s mother describes how the incident happened and urges the government to create a safer environment for women to raise their children.
The mother also says that since a killer like this is usually not sane when committing a random killing, what the legal system and penalties can do to prevent another tragedy from happening is limited.
She indicates that the society should put more emphasis on family education and the school system to solve this problem and avoid creating distorted personalities and values.
In response to the murder, Vice Premier Woody Duh says in a statement that the Executive Yuan is grieves the death of the girl and expresses its condolences to the victim’s family.
Duh says the police department is investigating the case and he hopes there will be a result as soon as possible. He also mentions that the Executive Yuan will ask the National Police Agency and Taipei City Police Department to discuss improving public security.
Third random killing of children in Taiwan in five years
This incident has been the third case involving random child murder in Taiwan in the last five years.
Last May, a 29-year-old unemployed man randomly murdered an eight-year-old girl at an elementary school in Beitou, Taipei. The killer claimed that he killed the girl because prisoners get better food than he does in real life. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and was deprived of civil rights for life in a trial that took place on February 26 this year.
Another random child murder occurred on December 1, 2012, when another 29-year-old unemployed man slit a ten-year-old boy’s throat at an amusement arcade in Tainan. The killer later proclaimed that he committed the crime just because he “wanted to be jailed” and “killing a person or two would not lead to the death penalty.” The murderer was sentenced to life imprisonment in the first and second trials.
The random killing raises controversy over the death penalty again
As soon as the news of the random child murder broke out today, people in Taiwan started to debate over whether the government should keep or abolish the death penalty.
Taiwan’s current law system includes the death penalty, but law enforcements have rarely carried it out due to human rights reasons. Some human rights groups insist that Taiwan should abolish the death penalty to catch up with the trend of banning the penalty around the world and demonstrate that Taiwan values human rights.
However, these advocates have faced a huge amount of opposition from the general public in Taiwan. Most people in Taiwan believe that it is better for the society to keep the capital punishment.
Freddy Lim, a legislator who has actively supported abolishing the death penalty, says that he feels sad and angry about the crime and calls for the public to give the victim’s family more private space.
When asked if he still advocates for the death penalty after the incident, Lim does not answer directly, but says that people should think about the big picture of the law system and how to protect children when this kind of crime happens. He also indicates that there is still a lot of room for improvement in Taiwan’s current legal system.
Wang Yu-ming, a KMT legislator, held a press conference in the afternoon, saying that she hopes the bill she proposed after the Tainan child murder case that happened five years ago, could be reviewed and passed as soon as possible.
The bill Wang proposed imposes the death penalty on anyone who deliberately kills children under 12 years old. Wang says keeping and executing the death penalty is the mainstream idea in Taiwan’s society.
Edited by Olivia Yang
“Toddler killed in gruesome knife attack in Taipei” (Focus Taiwan)
“Prosecutors ask for death for suspected child killer” (Taipei Times)