Brother arrested over Taiwan 'pickled head' murder

TAIPEI (AFP) - A Taiwanese man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering and dismembering his sister for an insurance payout after her severed pickled head was discovered in a crime that has shocked the island.

Chen Chia-fu, 37, was taken into custody late on Monday in what local media have called "the pickled head case" as the only part of the woman found so far is her head, wrapped in a plastic bag rubbed with several layers of salt.

The case came to light after police in southern Chiayi county received a note claiming that the body of the woman, who had been missing since December, was in a public toilet near a temple and asking for a "proper burial" for her.

The note, which led to the discovery of her head, became critical evidence as the writing matched Chen's, prosecutors said.

Chen was arrested after police found surveillance camera footage showing him with bags carrying unidentified objects in Chiayi, they said.

He was also found to have purchased at least four insurance polices for the 36-year-old that would enable him to receive massive sums in the event of her death, they said.

The police suspected Chen of taking a train from Taipei, where the siblings lived, to southern Taiwan possibly to dispose of her head in a secure location.

Chen has protested his innocence. The rest of his sister's body and the murder weapon have yet to be located.

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