Fri, Apr 01, 2016 - Page 8 News List


Crime and punishment

I read and reread, and then read again, the last two paragraphs of Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) quoted responses to Monday’s horrific decapitation of a four-year-old girl in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖) and two other random attacks in the city on Tuesday (“Ko Wen-je calls on wardens to arrange more social events,” March 30, page 2), thinking that maybe it was a mistranslation, or that perhaps I might be misunderstanding something.

Claiming that most random attacks are committed by “drug addicts and alcoholics, or people with abnormal personalities,” the mayor is quoted as saying: “What is the use of strict law enforcement after someone has committed murder?”

This was followed by a helpful suggestion that they be treated with “love and care” together with his final incredible statement: “Punishing them after they kill someone is not the way.”

Perhaps in the mayor’s mind, murder suspect Wang Ching-yu (王景玉) is simply misunderstood and struggling with some “issues.” Perhaps he just needs a big hug, a pat on the back, a cup of hot cocoa and someone to listen to his problems. Perhaps, rather than blaming him, this whole business is actually his parents’ fault, the government’s fault or society’s fault for not helping him more.

Perhaps... but I also believe there is accountability and there should be consequences for our actions, whether we become alcoholics or drug addicts, whether we think life is treating us fairly or not, or whether or not we had “good” parents.

I do not think I am alone in thinking that if I had just witnessed Wang decapitating my four-year-old girl, there would be no debate afterward about his punishment for the crime, as he would have paid the full price on the spot. Call me insensitive, but that is just the way I am.

Having not been forced to witness something like this happen to someone he loves, I am sure the mayor thinks he is being the calm, responsible, detached voice of reason when an outraged, grieving public is calling for vengeance and action. However, for the sake of Taipei residents, I sincerely hope that his future responses and reactions to this tragedy are a bit more sensitive and sensible.

Douglas Habecker


Stop politicizing OBI issue

The incident regarding OBI Pharma Inc shares that Academia Sinica president Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠) gave his daughter, is for the most part an honest mistake.

Based on US law, parents are allowed to give up to about US$14,000 each year to their child tax-free. Beyond that, a gift tax is to be paid. Either way, it is as legal as it is common.

Although his daughter was a poor artist, this does not prevent her from receiving gifts from her parents. I frankly do not see anything morally wrong with giving children gifts.

I am not trying to excuse Wong for what he had said about the efficacy of the drug before it was officially disclosed to the public. It was both out of character and out of line. However, the definition of insider trading in Taiwan is not clear. As such, it can be viewed as indiscreet conduct on his part due to insufficient knowledge.

I urge politicians of different stripes to stop questioning Wong on this issue; it was just a slip of the tongue. He is not a financier or hedge fund manager who is dexterous about shorting pharmaceutical shares.

What is important is that the next trial drug from his team ought to be better prepared given the negative result this time. Wong might very likely win a Nobel Prize for Taiwan. Continual badgering of him over financial issues only does him a disservice.

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