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Four Vietnamese, 1 Taiwanese may be detained in kidnapping case

04/12/2024 07:49 PM
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Law enforcement officers get ready to raid the residence of Vietnamese suspects in a kidnapping case of a fellow Vietnamese national. Photo courtesy of Yunlin District Prosecutors Office
Law enforcement officers get ready to raid the residence of Vietnamese suspects in a kidnapping case of a fellow Vietnamese national. Photo courtesy of Yunlin District Prosecutors Office

Taipei, April 12 (CNA) The Yunlin District Prosecutors Office filed a motion with the Yunlin District Court on Friday to detain four Vietnamese migrant workers and a Taiwanese national over the alleged kidnapping and possible murder of another Vietnamese national.

The filing came after the five individuals were arrested Wednesday for their suspected involvement in the kidnapping and death of a 24-year-old Vietnamese worker surnamed Vu, who was employed in Taoyuan.

Prosecutors asked that the five be detained, concerned that if the suspects were released, they would pose a flight risk and engage in collusion to coordinate their testimony.

Yunlin prosecutor Chu Chi-jen (朱啟仁) said Friday that his office was made aware of the case by the Taoyuan Police Department's Zhongli Precinct on Tuesday.

A special task force made up of multiple police departments and Taiwan's National Immigration Agency then initiated an investigation, Chu said, narrowing the list of suspects to four Vietnamese migrant workers and a Taiwanese national.

Led by Yunlin prosecutor Yan Li-jing (顏鸝靚), Chu said the task force searched the premises occupied by the suspects on Wednesday and arrested three Vietnamese men identified only by their surnames Le, Hoang and Vu-Duy.

Law enforcement officers arrest Vietnamese suspects in a kidnapping case of a fellow Vietnamese national. Photo courtesy of Yunlin District Prosecutors Office
Law enforcement officers arrest Vietnamese suspects in a kidnapping case of a fellow Vietnamese national. Photo courtesy of Yunlin District Prosecutors Office

It also brought in Nguyen, a Vietnamese woman, and a Taiwanese man surnamed Hsu (許).

In a press statement, prosecutors said Le and Nguyen were a couple, and they began planning to hold Vu for ransom as early as March after Nguyen became acquainted with the victim online.

Once the couple gained information on Vu's family finances, they then devised a plan to have Nguyen lure Vu from Taoyuan to the city of Douliu in Yunlin County.

When Vu showed up, Le and the others forced him into a vehicle and held him against his will in a factory dormitory located somewhere in the county's Sihu Township, according to prosecutors.

The suspects then called Vu's father in Vietnam via video to demand a ransom of 200 million Vietnamese Dong, or about NT$250,000.

After the elder Vu wired the money, however, the suspects continued to hold the victim in a motel in the county's Baozhong Township instead of letting him go as promised because they intended to extort more money from Vu's family, prosecutors said.

Investigators found that while held captive, Vu had tissue paper stuffed into his mouth to gag him, and tape wrapped around his eyes, mouth and nose to prevent him from calling for help.

Vu eventually died, perhaps caused by his treatment, the task force hypothesized, which prompted the suspects to bury his body on a Baozhong Township sugarcane farm.

On Thursday, the task force took the suspects to the sugarcane farm where a decomposing corpse was located, prosecutors said.

Law enforcement officers bring the suspects of a kidnapping a killing case to a sugarcane farm in Yunlin, the suspected location where a body was disposed. Photo courtesy of Yunlin District Prosecutors Office
Law enforcement officers bring the suspects of a kidnapping a killing case to a sugarcane farm in Yunlin, the suspected location where a body was disposed. Photo courtesy of Yunlin District Prosecutors Office

Fingerprint matching later proved that the deceased was Vu, with an autopsy ordered to confirm Vu's cause of death.

Prosecutors said they believe the five suspects engaged in kidnapping for ransom, which violates Article 348-1 of Taiwan's Criminal Code.

(By Chiang Yi-ching and James Lo)

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