Former Taiwan Official Guilty in Liu Murder Plot
The former chief of Taiwan’s military intelligence bureau was found guilty today of directing the murder a Chinese-American writer in California and was sentenced to life imprisonment.
A military tribunal ruled that Vice Adm. Wang Hsi-ling, 58, had plotted the murder of writer Henry Liu, a critic of Taiwan’s leadership who was shot to death in the garage of his Daly City, Calif., home last October.
Two of Wang’s deputies, Hu Yi-min, 58, and Chen Hu-men, 41, also were found guilty of being accessories to murder and each was given a prison term of two years and six months.
Earlier, two Taiwan gangsters, Chen Chi-li and Wu Tun, were convicted in a separate trial of actually carrying out the murder and were sentenced to life in prison. Chen and Wu, however, told the court that they had acted on orders of Wang, who was head of military intelligence on Taiwan at the time of his arrest in January.
Chen told the court that Wang said that Liu was to be killed because the journalist, who wrote for Chinese language newspapers in the United States and who wrote a critical biography of Taiwan President Chiang Ching-kuo, had turned “traitor” to his native land.
Wang admitted that he mentioned in a casual conversation with Chen that Liu needed to be “taught a lesson,” but denied giving orders to kill Liu, a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Liu’s widow, Helen, has maintained that her husband was murdered on orders of the Taiwan government in retaliation for his writings. Taiwan authorities, however, have taken the position that Wang struck against Liu for unspecified personal reasons and have denied any official sanction for the killing.
The three intelligence officials could have been sentenced to death by the five-judge military court martial.
The sentences will be automatically reviewed by a higher military tribunal, but the three can file their own appeal within 10 days.