Police transfer Luzhu homicide suspect to Taoyuan prosecutors



TAIPEI — A Filipino worker has been handed over to prosecutors in Taoyuan County by police for his alleged involvement in the death of a store owner in the county’s Luzhu Township.

The suspect, identified by authorities as Darwin Gorospe Sarmiento, 31, was arrested at a hotel in Shulin District in New Taipei on Saturday after allegedly killing the merchant, identified as Lin Chang-hsing, late Friday night.

Citing surveillance video from the store, police said late Saturday that Sarmiento used a hammer to knock Lin unconscious before stabbing him in the neck with a screwdriver multiple times, causing Lin to bleed to death.

After attacking Lin, who runs a grocery store that also makes loans to migrant workers, Sarmiento tied up Lin’s wife and children to prevent them from reporting the incident, according to police.

Lin’s wife was able to contact law enforcement authorities early Saturday morning after wriggling free at around 3:36 a.m.

The police said Sarmiento initially denied having anything to do with Lin’s death when he was arrested but later confessed to the crime upon learning that the store’s surveillance camera had captured the attack on film.

According to police, Sarmiento said he was already in a bad mood when he entered the store to buy a telephone card and was further angered when Lin said the shop was closed for the night and told him to go home.

The suspect told police he did not intend to kill Lin, but eventually did so fearing Lin would come after him after being knocked out.

Lin’s wife, a Filipino, told police she suspected Sarmiento killed her husband after her husband refused to lend him money. She said her husband turned down the request because the suspect still owed him money.

A preliminary investigation by police found that the suspect worked at a factory in the township for less than NT$20,000 (US$663.80) per month, and frequently borrowed money from Lin.

Sarmiento’s employer said the Filipino also often borrowed money from her but generally paid her back on time, and was honest to the point of returning a wallet he found without accepting a reward from the owner.

She called the incident “regrettable” as Sarmiento’s work contract was to expire in September, after which he could have returned home.