Taipei - A Taiwanese couple have been indicted over the abuse and deaths of three of their children whose bodies they then buried in hidden locations, in a crime that has shocked the island.
The father, identified by his family name Lee, admitted to beating two sons - aged seven-years-old and 10 months - before they died, prosecutors said in a statement on Wednesday.
Crying and screaming
He was charged with causing injury leading to death while the children's mother was indicted for abandonment leading to death, both punishable by life imprisonment.
The cause of death of their six-month-old daughter was undetermined.
Lee, 37, denied abusing the baby, prosecutors said.
He and his partner Chen, 33, escaped murder charges as Lee claimed he "had no idea" his children would die, said Huang Yi-hua, a spokesperson for the Yunlin prosecutor's office.
"Lee said he just wanted to teach the children a lesson when they were crying and screaming," she added.
But the case sparked an emotional public response, with some calling for the death penalty, which can be handed down for serious crimes in Taiwan.
Local media described the couple as "cold-blooded, horrifying parents.
Even if they don't get sentenced to death by a judge, they will go to hell after they die," read one message left on the comment section on Apple Daily's website.
"They are animals, they should be shot dead," read another.
Prosecutors described Lee as unemployed and an alcoholic.
The children died between 2008 and 2013, when the couple were on the run for theft and fraud charges.