Family of diplomat released, fugitive arrested


Taiwan's most wanted fugitive yesterday surrendered to police, ending a 24-hour hostage drama at the home of a South African diplomat in Taipei. Chen Chinhsin (39) released Mrs Anne Alexander, wife of the South African defence attache, Col E.G. "Mac" Alexander, and was then led away in handcuffs to be questioned about a series of killings and other crimes.

The gunman gave up after prosecutors agreed to re-investigate his wife's role in the kidnapping and murder in April of actress Pai Pinpin's 17-year-old daughter.

Chen apologised for having kidnapped and brutally murdered Pai Hsiao-yen who was abducted on April 14th on her way to school by a trio who demanded $5 million (£3.3 million) in ransom.

Her body was found in a ditch near Taipei two weeks later. Chen has been at the centre of a massive police manhunt ever since, and two other suspected accomplices in the case are dead. Hundreds of police surrounded the house after Chen entered the Alexander family home in a Taipei suburb on Tuesday night.

Col Alexander and his daughter, Melanie (22), were wounded and released for treatment after shots were fired early on. Yesterday, Chen freed a seven-month-old baby the family is adopting and Christine Alexander (12).

During the crisis, Chen gave telephone interviews to Taiwanese media telling how he had killed, raped and robbed. He said he deserved to die for the killing of Pai Hsiao-yen, which sparked widespread revulsion on the island. Chen has also admitted his role in the murder of a plastic surgeon, his wife and a nurse several weeks ago.

A statement issued by the Taiwan embassy to South Africa expressed the government's "sincere regret over this most unfortunate incident". The Alexander family held an emotional reunion in hospital at the end of a drama. Mrs Alexander seemed unharmed but was admitted to the Veterans Hospital for a check-up. Her husband and daughter, Melanie, were taken to the same hospital on Tuesday after being wounded, and Christine Alexander went to the hospital to see her father and sister after her release.