TAIPEI - Labor Minister Chen Hsiung-wen yesterday was the victim of a case of grand theft auto when his government-issued vehicle was stolen from the parking lot of the Ministry of Labor (MOL).
The theft reportedly took place during the first earthquake yesterday morning. According to MOL Deputy Minister Chen I-min, the minister's driver first discovered that Chen Hsiung-wen's government vehicle, a Toyota Camry, was stolen at around 10 a.m. yesterday.
The deputy minister said that as the parking lot of the MOL is shared between the Labor Ministry and the building's residential tenants, as well as swimmers of the building's public pool, there were many people who had access to the lot and had the opportunity to steal the government vehicle.
The theft was reported to a police office from nearby Datong Precinct.
Suspect Arrested in New Taipei: 'A Voice Made Me Do It'
Following investigations, police stopped and arrested a suspect surnamed Lin at 6 p.m. in the Sanxia District of New Taipei City yesterday.
The police said that they had tracked the vehicle using the car's electronic toll collection (ETC) card, as Lin drove the car onto the freeway after fleeing the crime scene.
Lin, who is 50 according to sources, allegedly told police that he has a wound on his head from a severe head injury sustained during his mandatory military service.
Lin said that since then, he constantly hears voices in his head and sees hallucinations on a regular basis.
The culprit said that he felt that his life was in danger today, and had taken a bus from New Taipei's Linkou District to an area near the MOL for his own security.
Lin said that he had wandered into the parking garage of the MOL to discover the key in the minster's unlocked government vehicle, and soon saw a vision of an umbrella that was accompanied by a voice that told him to drive the car away.
However, according to police officers responsible for the case, Lin does not possess an IC Card identifying him as "severely wounded" to back up his hallucination claims, even though the suspect did try to physically show officers his alleged wound. Officers said that the minister's vehicle is unscathed, and will be returned to the MOL soon after the conclusion of the case.