Taiwanese Gets Long Term for Killing Journalist

Associated Press

Despite a widow’s plea for mercy, Taiwanese gangster Tung Kuei-sen was sentenced Wednesday to 27 years to life in prison for the 1984 murder of a Chinese-American journalist critical of the Taiwan government.

At the trial, the 36-year-old member of the international, Taiwan-based gang known as United Bamboo testified that Henry Liu’s killing was ordered by Chiang Shiao-wu, grandson of former Chinese nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek and son of former Taiwan President Chiang Ching-kuo. Chiang Shiao-wu has denied any role in the killing.

With an ear cocked toward an interpreter, Tung, manacled at his wrists and ankles, heard San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Margaret J. Kemp call him guilty of “an act of political terrorism.”


Consecutive Sentences

The defendant was ordered to serve the sentence consecutively following completion of a 20-year federal sentence for heroin smuggling.

At the close of the trial, Tung stated, “This was not an act of an individual, and this was not the act of a gang. This was an act of the (Taiwan) government. . . . (I was) a scapegoat for the Taiwan government.”

Tung, who made repeated confessions to the murder, said he pleaded innocent so that he could apologize and reveal in a jury trial the identities of the people behind the crime. Tung said he thought he was being a patriot by killing a traitor to Taiwan.

Tung drew 25 years to life for murder plus two years for use of a firearm. Prosecutor Bob Bishop said Tung will be eligible for parole in 17 years and eight months.

Convicted in March

Tung was convicted by a jury in March of gunning down Liu in the garage of the writer’s home in Daly City on Oct. 15, 1984.

The 52-year-old Liu was a columnist for Chinese-language newspapers in San Francisco and had just published an unflattering biography of Taiwan leader Chiang, who died four months ago.

In a letter to the court, the victim’s widow said she hopes that others involved in her husband’s “bloody murder” will be prosecuted.