TAIWAN CHILD KILLER
Accused has ‘mental handicap’, rules judge
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
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.