AIT denies intervention in Chiu Mei-yun murder investigation

The China Post news staff

KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan — The American Institute in Taiwan denied yesterday it intervened in the investigation of the murder of Chiu Mei-yun. The denial came after the husband of the victim, Yao Kuo-hui, complained for the second time with the Kaohsiung district court that the AIT tried to shield an American citizen David Michael Fillion, who was once implicated in the murder in the south Taiwan port city. In a statement, the AIT said: “The American Institute in Taiwan would like to state for the record that it has not intervened in the Taiwan legal system’s investigation of the case of the death of Chiu Mei-yun in Kaohsiung.” The statement added: “The role of the American Institute in Taiwan in this matter has been strictly limited to normal and appropriate contact with the American citizen involved in this case.” AIT personnel contacted Fillion after he was arrested on Tuesday. Also arrested was his Filipina wife Armia Nemencia Panaglima. She admitted to the murder, but Fillion claimed to have alibis, which were accepted. Yao made the first complaint with the court after Fillion was released without bail Wednesday morning. Fillion was summoned for another questioning a few hours later but was released without bail again later that night. He called his mother at home in the United States early yesterday morning to tell them that he was proven innocent.

Later in the morning, Yao made the second complaint. He was accompanied by Kuomintang lawmaker Huang Chao-hsun. He asked police to continue investigating the case. Kaohsiung police said the investigation was completed. “We were satisfied,” a spokesman said, “Armia had the power to commit the murder all by herself.” Chiu went to see Armia at the latter’s apartment in Kaohsiung last Friday. They had a fight and Armia stabbed Chiu to death. Fillion was not at home at that time. The Filipina then carried Chiu’s body and dumped it in a small alley. Fillion was not with her. Investigators found Armia, though short, was strong enough to overpower Chiu, kill her and carry her body away from the apartment alone. Kaohsiung district chief prosecutor Chung Chung-hsiao confirmed the police investigators tested Fillion’s alibis. “Mr. Fillion has proven alibis,” he pointed out. David Wang, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the judiciary in Taiwan is under no pressure from the AIT. “There isn’t any difference in treating an American simply because he is a U.S. citizen,” Wang pointed out. American citizens enjoy no favored treatment, if they are under criminal investigation in Taiwan, he added. Wang said the AIT, under international law, has an obligation to take care of any American citizen suspected of committing a crime in Taiwan. After contacting Fillion, the AIT asked the police and prosecution not to reveal the details of investigation in accordance with the law.