60 indicted over killing of policeman in Taiwan

TAIPEI (AFP) - Taiwanese prosecutors Thursday indicted 60 people over the fatal beating of a policeman outside a nightclub, the largest number of people ever charged with murder and assault in one case on the island.

Detective Hsueh Chen-kuo, 38, was assaulted by dozens of people on September 14 when he went to the club in a shopping district in Taipei to handle a disturbance, police said.

His attackers left the scene after he collapsed and were later identified by surveillance footage and fingerprints on weapons including baseball bats, bottles and metal pipes.

Hsueh suffered multiple injuries to his head and body.

A total of 21 individuals, including local gang member Hsiao Jui-hung, were charged with murder, an offence punishable by death, prosecutors said.

Twelve others were indicted on the lesser charge of assault leading to death, which is punishable by life imprisonment. Among them were the couple accused of starting the disturbance after being asked to leave the club following an argument with security.

The remaining 27 people were charged with inciting a group assault by supporting the attackers.

The brutal killing shocked Taiwan, an island where violent crimes are relatively rare.

Police launched a widespread crackdown on gangs after the killing, raiding a number of pubs, karaoke joints, nightclubs and bars.