Man Who Harbored Murder Suspect Claims Innocence because Media Hides Suspect Faces
A homeowner who allowed a man suspected to have shot a young soldier to death in Pingtung County claimed that he didn’t know the man was the suspect killer because news media blurred the face of the suspect in TV news reports.
Hong Weizhi was arrested during a raid on a residence in Shanhua township, Tainan, at around 6:00am this morning, June 6. When the suspect was rudely awoken from his sleep, he shouted: “I surrender, I surrender. Please don’t shoot!”
Hong was wanted after being identified as the main suspect in the death of 23 year-old Marine Corps soldier Ho Sheng-wen (何勝文), who was beaten, and shot to death, after being attacked by a large group of baseball bat-wielding gangsters in Chaozhou township, Pingtung County in the early hours of the morning June 2.
Police at first investigated the murder as a road rage incident. [See previous story: Marine Shot Dead in Suspected Gangster Road Rage Incident]. However, further investigations discovered that the hapless marine, who was returning to base to report for guard duty after taking a day’s leave, was murdered in a case of mistaken identity. Ho was the second man to be brutally killed during the night of June 1, after a gang war broke out over love triangle involving two men and one woman.
Police at first denied there was a relationship between the two murder cases, but backtracked after suspects from two rival gangs were arrested and interrogated.
The Pingtung District Prosecutor’s Office ordered that Hong be kept in detention due to the seriousness of the crime.
The murdered marine’s distraught mother rushed to the police station after hearing of Hong’s arrest, but was frustrated at not being allowed to confront her son’s killer. Ms Ho expressed her desire to beat the suspect up for a little while, and said that it wouldn’t hurt as much as the pain he has caused.
Hong, who is suspected of murdering Ho while attempting to “help his friends,” has previous criminal records for drugs and firearms related offences, and attempted murder. Hong was released from prison in November last year.
During the arrest, police seized a small quantity of heroin and amphetamines, and NT$190,000 in cash. according to Liberty Times Network. Two handguns were also seized and ballistics tests are being undertaken to determine if either were involved in the murder.
A total of 25 suspects have been interrogated in relation to the case, of which 6 have been kept in detention, while 9 have been released on bail ranging from NT$150,000 and NT$200,000. Some of the suspects were minors.
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