Police collect new evidence in Bali murder case

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Investigators have gathered further evidence related to the Bali District (八里) coffee shop murder case, while prosecutors have said they may file a new petition against a court ruling that allowed bail for three male suspects.

Images from surveillance cameras show that Hsieh Yi-han, the female manager of a coffee shop in Bali District of New Taipei City at the center of the case, purchased a wig and a pair of sunglasses on Feb. 20 near the residence of her boyfriend, surnamed Ju. She drew wrinkles at the corners of her eyes and wore a striped dress to look like Chang Tsui-ping, one of the two victims in the case. Chang was a professor from Shih Chien University. With the disguise, investigators said, Hsieh attempted to withdraw money from Chang’s bank account via an ATM and at a bank counter. Hsieh was twice unable to key in the correct ATM PIN. She then fled, investigators said, from a bank counter after bank staff decided she was not the legitimate owner of the passbook. Hsieh told police she sought to withdraw their money but did not kill Chang or her husband, Chen Chin-fu. Chang’s body was discovered on Feb. 26 and Chen’s body was found on March 2 on the bank of the Tamshui River, not far from the coffee shop. Both bodies showed stab wounds.

Investigators have not ruled out Hsieh’s role in the double murder, and noted that she may have been aided by accomplices. In addition to retrieving Hsieh’s communication records and recovering deleted files from Ju’s computer, the police have also confiscated her scooter. Ju was not named a suspect in the case, but records showed that he called Hsieh about 20 times, starting from 11 p.m. on Feb. 16. She, however, had turned off her handset for unknown reasons, police said, adding that Hsieh turned on her phone again two hours later. Investigators are trying to find out what she was doing in those hours. Some senior officers said that Hsieh and her alleged accomplices could have destroyed all vital evidence, including the murder weapon, due to belated action by the police. However, they stressed that investigators should still be able to solve the case as they gather evidence like the female suspect’s telecommunication records and the files in Ju’s computer. Meanwhile, prosecutors said they have not ruled out a plan to file a second petition with the Shilin District Court to place three other suspects into custody. The three are coffee shop owner Lu Bing-hong and his two friends, Ou Shi-cheng and Chung Dian-fong. The court rejected an earlier request to detain the three.