April 27, the reporter learned from Zhang Hongxuan, a lawyer representing the victims of the Thai wife-killing fraud case, that the defendant in the case, Zhang, had been commuted to death. In 2018, Tianjin man Zhang Afan took his wife Xiaojie and 20-month-old daughter on a trip to Phuket, Thailand, and then killed his wife Xiaojie in order to cheat on huge insurance. On 24 December 2019, the defendant, Zhang, was sentenced to life imprisonment.
It was previously reported
In October 2018, 29-year-old Tianjin woman Xiao Jie was found dead in a hotel pool in Phuket, Thailand, along with her husband Zhang Afan, who was identified by Thai police as a suspect. A few months before the case, Zhang, in the name of himself and his wife Xiaojie, in 11 different insurance companies to buy large policies, insurance amount of 274,649 yuan, the total insurance value of 26.76 million yuan, the insured people are shown to be “little Jie”, the beneficiaries point to “Zhang.”
After the case, Zhang admitted to the lawyer, before the accident forged his wife’s signature, bought Sunshine, Tsinghua Tongfang two life insurance. But he said his wife knew about it and said she bought insurance for children, was investing in financial management, and denied allegations that he had “killed his wife to cheat.”
On December 11, 2018, Tianjin police opened a case against Zhang on suspicion of insurance fraud. On January 24, 2019, the Phuket Provincial Prosecutor’s Office formally charged the suspect, Zhang, with violating Thai law and demanding the death penalty.
From 5 to 12 July 2019, the court of Phuket, Thailand, heard the case for the first time. During the July 5 trial, the prosecution submitted three new pieces of evidence to the judge, including a confession from the Tianjin police that Zhang had been given a high-profile reward by the network’s red female anchor, who said Zhang had given her a total reward of more than 400,000 yuan.
During the 6th and 7th trials of the second trial, Xiao Jie’s parents appeared in court to testify against Zhang and the evidence submitted by Tianjin police. During the trial, Zhang denied all the evidence handed over by the Chinese police, saying it was because the families of the victims hated themselves and falsified evidence.
During the trial on August 13, 2019, Zhang confessed to the crime and claimed that the killing of Xiao Jie was a deliberate attempt to defraud insurance compensation after two people got into an argument and drowned in a fight in a swimming pool.
On 24 December 2019, after three rounds of nine trials, the defendant, Zhang, was sentenced to life imprisonment.
On 23 March 2020, the families of the victims in the case commissioned a lawyer to appeal to the 8th District Intermediate Court of Thailand, and on 7 January 2021, the Intermediate Court commuted the sentence of Zhang, who is currently applying to the Eighth District Intermediate Court for the Intermediate Court to give him the opportunity to continue his appeal to the Supreme Court.
As a result of the outbreak, on 2 March 2021, the Phuket Court read out the judgment of the Intermediate Court to the accused, Zhang Afan, who was being held in prison. Lawyer Fang Wenchuan, a lawyer representing relatives of the deceased and director of Nietzsche International Law Firm in Thailand, did not receive a notice of the judgement read out by the Phuket Court, and because he was informed of the recent receipt of the defendant’s request for an appeal by the High Court, Fang’s lawyer immediately entrusted the prosecution of the case to apply to the court for the judgement and received the original judgement on 26 April 2021.
The 32-page judgment details four reasons for commuting the death penalty
Ms. Zhang Hongxuan, general manager of Nietzsche International Law Firm in Thailand, told reporters that the verdict was 32 pages long, and that the basis for the intermediate court’s decision to commute the death penalty was based on four main points:
First of all, in response to the defendant’s claim that he did not intentionally kill his wife, the Intermediate Court judge held that the defendant had few bruises on his body and that the hotel room had only traces of rummaging, and that hotel staff testified that the pool where the defendant claimed the victim had died was only 1.30-1.40 metres deep, that the victim was perfectly capable of standing in the pool, and that the victim’s family had proved that the victim had been swimming since childhood. Based on the depth of the pool and the victim’s swimming skills, the Intermediate Court judge ruled that it was difficult for the victim to die in the pool.
Secondly, in response to the defendant’s argument that he had acted with passion in the lower courts, the Intermediate Court judge held that, on the basis of the evidence provided by the police, the prosecution and the victim’s lawyer, the accused had been lying and concealing after the incident in an attempt to cover up the killing, and that the defendant had to admit to the murder only after the police had presented the evidence of the facts. The defendant claimed that the defendant could not stand the constant complaints of the victim, and that a heated argument broke out between the two sides before the defendant became angry and lost his mind and hurt the victim by getting stuck in the pool card. The Intermediate Court judge found that the defendant himself admitted to getting stuck in the victim’s neck from behind the victim, repeatedly pressing the victim’s head in the water, the last time in the water for about 3 minutes, waiting for the victim to fall into a coma and return to his room, allowing the victim to drown in the pool for more than 20 minutes before the defendant dragged the victim out of the pool and placed it by the pool. The behaviour and indications of the accused have given the judge greater confidence in the grounds for the prosecution and the victim’s family on behalf of counsel, and the Intermediate Court judge has ruled that there was no violent quarrel between the accused and the victim, that the victim was killed without his knowledge and that there was no fact of passionate killing.
Third, in response to the defendant’s defence in the lower court that he did not intend to kill his wife to defraud him of insurance, the Intermediate Court judge held that the defendant had purchased a large amount of life insurance in a short period of time, amounting to RMB20,490,000, and that the beneficiaries were the defendant himself, while the victim had parents, but the victim’s parents knew nothing about it. The annual premium is quite high, amounting to RMB202,902, far exceeding the total income of the defendant and the victim, which is contrary to common sense and does not need normal people to buy such a large amount of life insurance. Although the defendant argued that he earned 200,000 yuan a year, he did not produce the relevant certificates. In order to obtain insurance successfully, the defendant also forged proof of income, forged the victim’s signature, the victim’s signature can be seen with the naked eye is false signature, so the Intermediate Court judge ruled that the defendant killed his wife, in order to defraud a large amount of insurance money.
Fourthly, in response to the defendant’s denial in the lower court of sending money to net red 300,000, the Intermediate Court judge held that the defendant did not deny the fact of the remittance, only claimed that the remittance of 300,000 yuan was to promote their own expenses, the judge found that this explanation has no factual basis, no credible reason. The Intermediate Court judge ruled that the defendant had been unfaithful to his wife and had spent far more than his income, and therefore planned to kill his wife in an attempt to make a large amount of insurance money.
On the basis of the above-mentioned main factors, the Eighth District Intermediate Court agreed that the lower courts had deliberately planned to kill others in accordance with Criminal Law 289 (4) and sentenced the accused to death.