Grief as kidnap girl, 17, found dead in ditch

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 April, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 April, 1997, 12:00am

Shock and anger gripped Taiwan yesterday following the discovery of a kidnapped girl's body in a ditch.

The death of 17-year-old Pai Hsiao-yen stunned the country, with television stations broadcasting live coverage into the night.

Police did not say how the only child of bubbly television celebrity Pai Ping-ping died.

She was discovered naked in a drainage ditch near the industrial suburb of Wuku outside Taipei yesterday afternoon.

The body, which had been weighted down to keep it under water, had been decomposing for up to five days, said medical examiner Yang Jih-sung.

Ms Pai later confirmed it was her daughter, Criminal Investigation Bureau Director-General Yang Tzu-ching said.

Many in Taiwan had interpreted the case as a test of the Government's resolve to turn back the tide of rising crime.

Shocking crimes have included the rape and murder of a women's rights activist last December and the execution-style killing of Taoyuan county chief Liu Pang-yu earlier this year.

In the latest tragedy, kidnappers abducted Pai Hsiao-yen as she was heading to school on April 14.

To protect the victim, Taiwanese media maintained an unprecedented blackout on the story until Saturday, when police arrested three suspects and urged up to four others to surrender.

Despite a three-day search involving some 6,000 police officers, military police and volunteers, no more arrests have been made.

President Lee Teng-hui said he was 'saddened' and 'outraged' over the girl's death.

'We are a society with feelings and compassion,' the President said in a statement released last night.

'But the occurrence of this kind of despicable event indeed evokes deep public agony.' Mr Lee urged the people to rally around the Government's call to fight crime and said he had ordered law enforcement authorities to go all out to find the kidnappers.