On Tuesday morning, a recycling company worker in New Taipei City found the body of a newborn in a bin full of kitchen waste.
He immediately alerted the police of his find on Tuesday (Feb 26) morning, sparking an investigation into a possible case of murder and abandonment.
To trace the whereabouts of the dead infant girl’s parents, Taiwanese police reviewed hundreds of surveillance footage captured by cameras located along the route of the garbage truck.
On Thursday, they finally found a lead—with a Singapore connection.
In a video captured outside a restaurant in Ximending, a man in his 20s is seen carrying a black plastic bag—which is believed to contain the baby—at around 3am on Tuesday.
After throwing the bag into the recycling bin, he left the scene in a panic.
The police also observed that the man spoke Mandarin with a foreign accent, which led them to visit a hotel popular with tourists from Southeast Asia.
But by Tuesday afternoon, the man and his girlfriend, who are from Singapore, had already checked out of the hotel. They flew home on the same day.
Hotel staff told Apple Daily that the woman appeared to be pregnant when they first arrived, but her tummy “disappeared” when she left.
The police also collected DNA samples from the couple’s room to determine whether they are related to the dead infant.
If a match is found between the suspects and the baby, Taiwan’s criminal investigation bureau said it will contact its counterpart in Singapore to assist.
The baby was found with her umbilical cord and placenta intact and is believed to have been disposed shortly after she was born.
Another Taiwanese news outlet, TVBS News, identified the woman as a 24-year-old from Singapore, and said the pair had flown in to Taiwan from Singapore on Feb 19.
In response to queries, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said on Sunday that they have been in touch with the Taiwanese authorities.
SPF added that they are waiting for an official request from their Taiwanese counterparts on the assistance they need.
“We are unable to comment further as investigations by the Taiwanese authorities are ongoing,” an SPF spokesman said.
The Straits Times understands that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is aware of the case.
Speaking to Chinese-language paper Shin Min Daily News over the phone on Friday, the man at the centre of the case denied that his girlfriend was pregnant and had given birth in Taiwan.
He also said that he had not left the hotel to throw the bag away at the time.
Similarly, the girl told Shin Min over the phone that if she were pregnant, she would not have been able to board the flight.
The man’s parents also told the newspaper that their son and his girlfriend were indeed in Taiwan for a holiday, but they did not know if she was pregnant.
His parents added that if their son was found to be involved in the case, he will have to bear the consequences of his actions.
On Sunday, Shin Min reported that the man and his girlfriend have not returned home since their trip and have remained uncontactable by their family members.
Text: Lam Min Lee / AsiaOne, Timothy Goh, Ng Huiwen / The Straits Times / March 2019