18 Years of Imprisonment
#Absence of Key Witness
Chen Huo-sheng and Lin Chin-lung were accused of trafficking heroin from the Philippines to Taiwan with Chao Feng-chu, Lin Chin-chun, Hsieh Lung-tsung, and a man nicknamed “A-Chao.”
Chen, who docked his fishing boat at a port in the Philippines, got a paper box from Lin Chin-chun and Hsieh on May 18, 2009. Inside the box was 16 bricks of heroin (with a net weight of 5695.21 grams) sealed in three DVD players. Chen left the Philippines on May 19 and sailed his boat back to Taiwan. As for Hsieh, he returned to Taiwan by plane on May 21 to take these drugs.
Chen arrived at Taiwan on the morning of May 27. In the afternoon of that day, Lin Chin-lung got a phone call from Lin Chin-chun, who told him that the DVD players were in Taiwan now and urged him to take the products as soon as possible. Lin Chin-lung then called Chen at around 5 p.m. and asked his son Lin Chia-yu, who knew nothing about the content of the box, to take the package at the fishing port where Chen docked his boat. After receiving the paper box from Chen Shih-chang, son of Chen Huo-sheng who did not know what’s actually inside the box as well, Lin’s son put the box in front of their house (on the roadside) as his father directed. Afterwards, Lin Chin-lung called the number on the box; Chao answered the call and was told that the things that Lin Chin-chun demanded had arrived. Chao then called Hsieh, who was driving outside, and told him the message. Upon hearing this, Hsieh drove to Lin Chin-lung’s house to take the box. However, he was caught by the police on the spot, and the DVD players with heroin were seized as well.
Both Chen and Lin Chin-lung claimed not knowing heroin was inside the box, though, they were convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced 18 years in prison.
Flaws in this case
Lin Chin-chun, the mastermind of this drug trafficking case, was jailed in the Philippines for another case. As a result, he could not testify on court during the trial of Chen and Lin Chin-lung, depriving their rights of cross-examination and confrontation. This is a serious violation of due process in the trial.
In 2015, Lin Chin-chun was arrested in Taiwan and sentenced to imprisonment. All of his confessions cleared Chen and Lin Chin-lung’s suspect, thus could upend the original ruling.
Investigators also found that Lin Chin-chun deliberately hided the existence of drugs. He called Su Wen-te, a witness who also worked at the fishing port, and asked whether Chen arrived at Taiwan, clearly showing that Lin Chin-chun arranged for the innocent to help deliver the drugs.
The Door to a Retrial
Based on Lin Chin-chun’s statements and Su’s testimony, the court granted a retrial to Lin Chin-lung; the Kaohsiung High Court eventually dismissed the accusation against him twice.
As for Chen, his case have not been retried yet.