Taoyuan District Court, Taiwan. Photo: Google Maps
Taoyuan District Court, Taiwan. Photo: Google Maps

A 46-year-old Taiwanese man was found not guilty on Tuesday of the murder and robbery of a 61-year-old man with whom he had dispute, as Taoyuan District Court found that there was no solid evidence against the defendant.

Last August 17, two tenants of a building in Guishan, northeastern Taoyuan City, both migrant workers, and the defendant surnamed Lin made a grisly discovery after they noticed a terrible smell coming from the fire-exit aisle.

They found that the stench was emanating from a large burlap sack, inside which they discovered the body of the workers’ sub-landlord – also a contractor in the ironworking industry – surnamed Tseng, whose hands and feet were tied. The decayed condition of the corpse suggested that the victim had been dead for at least a week.

An investigation by the prosecutor and police found that Lin, a part-time worker and a subordinate of Tseng, had disputed with the victim on several occasions, as Tseng had fired him and stopped renting an apartment to Lin as the latter allegedly had drug problems.

Investigators were told that Lin was not startled by the discovery of Tseng’s body, and that he even told the two workers that he was willing to pay them NT$4,500 (US$154) to help with the clean-up.

It was also found that the defendant had visited the victim’s empty apartment many times, as he had left a total of 11 memos behind. Adding to the investigators’ suspicions was Lin’s sudden ability to settle an outstanding debt on the first day of Tseng’s disappearance.

However, the judge acquitted Lin of murder and robbery as the only evidence found at the scene containing the defendant’s DNA was a single cigarette butt. No trace of Lin’s DNA was found on the burlap sack, the nylon rope, or Tseng’s body. Hence, the judge found, the case against Lin was based almost entirely on speculation.