TAIPEI - The prime suspect in the kidnap-murder of a Taichung billionaire was repatriated from Thailand yesterday, police officials said.
Hsieh Yuan-hsin flew back to the central city under police escort early in the morning after he was wanted in connection with the kidnap-murder of his employer, Shih Chia-chin, the officials said.
Hsieh confessed during police interrogation that he abducted Shih on Aug. 18 and killed him shortly afterwards without taking the NT$50 million (S$2 million) ransom he had demanded from the hostage's family, police were cited by the Central News Agency as saying.
Hsieh, who was Shih's chauffeur, claimed sole responsibility, saying he had planned the kidnap alone as he desperately needed money to pay back his huge debts, the police were quote as saying.
He reportedly asked to be sentenced to death, so as to be fair to the victim and his family.
The suspect was sent to the Taichung District Prosecutors Office for further questioning, police said.
Hsieh was arrested in Thailand by the local police Wednesday and was put on a late-night flight Friday taking him back to Taiwan.
The Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) said the repatriation was enabled by a joint-crime fighting agreement singed between Taiwan and Thailand in January 2013.
Hsieh fled Taiwan with a fake passport on Aug. 18, the same day his employer went missing after he had just returned to Taichung from a foreign trip and had been picked up at the airport by the chauffeur.
Hsieh reportedly told police that he drove Shih to a motel after picking him up at the airport. He then tied him up and put him in the trunk of the car. Two alleged accomplices were nabbed in Taiwan last week.
According to the confession, the plan was to leave the hostage in the mountains in Tainan and let the family pick him up after receiving the ransom.
While on their way to the mountains, Shih kept kicking the hood of the trunk, which angered Hsieh. Hsieh stopped the car, opened the trunk and stabbed the victim three times.
Hsieh later found Shih dead and dumped the body in the mountains of Tainan.
Hsieh demanded a NT$50 million ransom from Shih's family, who remitted NT$30 million into a bank account as instructed.
But he was unable to transfer the money to three other foreign currency accounts. He feared that he had already been targeted by police and immediately flew to Thailand.
Hsieh reportedly said he started planning the kidnap about half a year ago.
He obtained a passport with a fake ID. To launder the ransom money, Hsieh in May and June open three foreign currency bank accounts to which the ransom money would have been transmitted.
As a test, he succeeded in transferring small sums of money into the three accounts from his computer. But when he tried to transfer NT$10 million - allegedly from the ransom - he failed.
He then showed up at the bank to ask why the transferring failed, but when he was told the "manager needs to be asked," he decided to flee.