TAI­WAN CHILD KILLER

Ac­cused has ‘men­tal hand­i­cap’, rules judge

New Straits Times - - World -

TAIPEI

ASCHIZOPHRENIC Tai­wanese man who de­cap­i­tated a 3-year-old girl on a busy street here es­caped the death penalty yes­ter­day as he was sen­tenced to life in prison for what the court called an “ap­palling” crime.

Wang Ching-yu, 34, had pleaded guilty to killing the child in a crime that shocked the peace­ful is­land af­ter over­pow­er­ing her mother near a metro sta­tion.

He be­headed the girl with a kitchen knife as hor­ri­fied by­standers tried to stop him.

Wang had told the court that he hal­lu­ci­nated he was a Chi­nese em­peror from Sichuan prov­ince and be­lieved that killing the girl would bring him con­cu­bines to “carry on his fam­ily line”, ac­cord­ing to re­ports.

When asked in court if he knew why mur­der was wrong, he had said he knew he had made a mis­take be­cause no Sichuan woman had come for­ward to bear him chil­dren af­ter the killing.

Prose­cu­tors called the crime “ex­tremely cold-blooded” and de­manded the death penalty.

But judge Tsai Shou-hsun told a Taipei district court yes­ter­day that he would in­stead be jailed for life as he had a “men­tal hand­i­cap”.

Wear­ing black-framed glasses, a white T-shirt and track pants, with his head shaved, Wang re­mained calm as he lis­tened to the ver­dict, re­spond­ing: “I un­der­stand”.

The vic­tim’s fam­ily was not in court.

In a state­ment af­ter the ver­dict, the court said the de­ci­sion was in ac­cor­dance with in­ter­na­tional hu­man rights covenants pro­tect­ing those with men­tal ill­nesses.

It said Wang had been ex­pelled from school and had gone hit in 2015 when some re­gional groups re­jected a con­sti­tu­tion ap­proved by big­ger po­lit­i­cal par­ties, say­ing it con­cen­trated power among the hill elite that has long dom­i­nated pol­i­tics.

An­a­lysts say the ab­sence of lo­cal-level elected gov­ern­ment bod­ies has de­layed devel­op­ment work, boosted cor­rup­tion and un­der­mined ef­forts to re­build ar­eas dev­as­tated by two earth­quakes in 2015, which killed nearly 9,000 peo­ple and dis­placed three mil­lion.

Sur­vivors of the coun­try’s worst dis­as­ter on record still lan­guish in tem­po­rary shel­ters made from tar­pau­lin sheets and bam­boo. The gov­ern­ment has been crit­i­cised for fail­ing to spend US$4.1 bil­lion (RM18 bil­lion) pledged for re­build­ing.

“Politi­cians are com­ing to us ask­ing for votes. But we’ll only vote for those who give us a per­ma­nent house,” Bikram Prajapati, 40, said from his zinc-roofed hut in a sub­urb here.

The fi­nal phase of the lo­cal polls is set for June 14, when the restive south­ern plains, home to eth­nic mi­nor­ity groups de­mand­ing greater rep­re­sen­ta­tion, will head to the bal­lot box.

Four­teen mil­lion Nepalis are el­i­gi­ble to vote.

Prime Min­is­ter Prachanda, a for­mer Maoist rebel com­man­der who still goes by his nom de guerre, is ex­pected to stand down af­ter the vote un­der a power-shar­ing deal with Sher Ba­hadur Deuba, chief of the Nepali Congress party. Reuters

REUTERS PIC

Peo­ple col­lect­ing their vot­ers’ iden­tity cards at a polling sta­tion for the lo­cal elec­tion of mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties’ and vil­lages’ rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Thimi, Bhak­ta­pur, Nepal, on Thurs­day.

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