Court decides not to hear case against TV stars' gun-plot son

01/26/2022 09:54 PM
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An Tso Sun. CNA file photo
An Tso Sun. CNA file photo

Taipei, Jan. 26 (CNA) A district court in Taipei on Wednesday ruled not to hear a case involving a botched attempt by the son of television celebrities Sun Peng (孫鵬) and Di Ying (狄鶯) to produce a handgun in the United States in early 2018.

An Tso Sun (孫安佐), now 22, was arrested in March 2018 aged 18 after threatening to shoot up his school in the U.S., and was later convicted of making terroristic threats.

He was deported back to Taiwan in December that year, where he was indicted by Taiwanese prosecutors in 2020 for his failed attempt at making a handgun in the U.S.

However, the Taiwan Shilin District Court said that attempting but failing to produce a handgun is not a criminal offense in the U.S., despite Sun's conduct carrying a minimum sentence of three years under Taiwan's Controlling Guns, Ammunition and Knives Act.

As the offense did not take place in Taiwan and was not punishable in the U.S., the court decided not to hear the case, due to the fact that Taiwan's Criminal Code dictates that offenses outside the Republic of China that carry a sentence of fewer than three years in prison cannot be prosecuted in Taiwan.

According to the court, prosecutors indicted Sun in August 2020 for his attempt to produce a handgun in the U.S., believing that Sun's conduct in the country constituted an offense under U.S. laws.

Sun had searched online and purchased component parts for a handgun but failed to produce a firearm out of the purchased items.

However, the court decided not to hear the case after determining that Sun's conduct was not punishable either under U.S. Federal laws or state laws in Pennsylvania where the young man attended high school.

The case is still subject to a petition from prosecutors, according to the court, and prosecutors said they are studying whether they will file against the ruling.

Sun and his parents did not show up Wednesday's hearing but his lawyer said they were delighted to hear the court's decision.

Sun was arrested on March 26, 2018 and charged with making terroristic threats after he threatened to carry out a mass shooting May 1 at Bonner and Prendergast Catholic High School in Delaware, Pennsylvania.

On June 4, 2018, Sun pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 4-23 months incarceration, with immediate parole and credit for time served.

He was then released into the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody June 5 and later charged with the Federal offense of being an alien in possession of ammunition.

On Aug. 28, Sun entered a guilty plea to the federal charge.

The U.S. court also ordered that Sun be removed from the country, and permanently barred from entering the U.S.

(By Hsiao Po-wen, Elizabeth Hsu and Frances Huang)

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