Sat, Jul 19, 2003 - Page 1 News List

MOJ denies parole for serial rapist

The deliberationThe evaluation committee believes that the `Hwakang Wolf' is not fully rehabilitated, and still poses a risk to the public

By Jimmy Chung and Roger Cheng  /  STAFF REPORTER AND CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

The Ministry of Justice yesterday declined the "Hwakang Wolf's" parole application due to an evaluation committee's doubts about whether he is fully rehabilitated.

Yang was convicted eight years ago on 27 counts of rape and seven charges of theft. His victims were mostly female college students in Shihlin and Beitou.

"After an all-day meeting, we decided to reject his application this time because we feel that it is not the best time to let him enter the public sphere," said Vice Minister of Justice Hsieh Wen-ting (謝文定) at a press conference yesterday afternoon.

The meeting was joined by 10 members of the evaluation committee. Hsieh said everybody voted against the parole application.

The Wolf has been only identified by his surname Yang.

According to Hsieh, the evaluation committee said Yang had made some progress in the rehabilitation program for the past seven years while he has been serving his sentence at the Taipei Prison.

However, nobody can guarantee that Yang has been fully rehabilitated.

"Yang's situation is complicated and statistics of our research showed that a serial rapist is likely to reoffend," said James Lee (李光輝), director of the psychiatry department at Peitou Armed Forces Hospital who is a member of the evaluation committee and has been studying Yang for three years.

Lee never agreed to let Yang out of the jail because he said that it would be very difficult to persuade the public to risk themselves over only a 5 percent possibility that Yang will never repeat the crime.

Reverend Huang Ming-chen (黃明鎮), another member of the evaluation committee, said that he is quite sure that Yang wants to be a changed man. However, also, he cannot guarantee that Yang will not reoffend.

"He [Yang] is very fragile right now. He wants to be a changed man and he did work hard on that," Huang said.

"But, unfortunately, I cannot guarantee his complete rehabilitation, either," he said.

In addition, increasing public fears over Yang's parole was also an important consideration in the ministry's decision.

Yesterday's decision against Yang's parole application was also a sign that it will be impossible for him to enroll at National Taiwan University this fall.

Yang took the Joint College Entrance Exam in the summer of 2001 and was granted admission to the university's sociology department. He managed to gain a one-year leave from the university to keep his admission valid for another year.

The school notified him that his leave of absence would expire last September and that he would have to enroll and pay the tuition fees for that year or else lose his admission for good.

However, when approached again by reporters this year, the university's Office of Student Affairs Dean Wen Chen-yuan (溫振源) said that Yang's admission will expire next year.

Ask whether the Taipei Prison will help Yang continue his lessons instead of waiting for another year, Hsieh said that sometimes inmates are allowed to take classes while serving out their prison terms but he is afraid that Yang does not meet the requirements.

"Under certain circumstances, inmates are allowed to go to school in the daytime then return to prison at night. But the bottom line is, inmates who are allowed to do this cannot have been convicted of more than two crimes," Hsieh said.

"Maybe we can do something to help him but we have not come up with any solutions at this moment."

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