Fri, Dec 07, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Cameraman injured at memorial clash

CRITICAL CONDITION An ETTV cameraman was rushed to hospital after being run over by a truck while filming a dispute between several protesters and the truck driver

By Loa Iok-sin, Flora Wang and Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Bystanders attempt to help ETTV cameraman Wang Jui-chang, center, who was run over and trapped under a truck during a conflict in front of the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall in Taipei yesterday. Protesters clashed at the scene over plans to change the memorial's name plaques.


A TV cameraman was run over by a small truck and seriously injured yesterday morning as supporters and opponents of the government's decision to alter the plaque at the National Democracy Memorial Hall clashed near the scene.

ETTV cameraman Wang Jui-chang (王瑞璋) was run over while filming a dispute between members of the Taiwan Independence Union and a truck driver.

A clip broadcast later on ETTV showed the truck driving toward two Taiwan Independence Union members, who were standing by their cars arguing with protesters standing in front of the memorial hall across the street.

The video showed the driver of the truck -- later identified as Peng Sheng-lu (彭盛露) -- stopping just in front of the men. The two men then approached the truck, and as they shouted at the driver, he started the truck again.

Several reporters were hit by the vehicle, witnesses said, with Wang getting stuck underneath and dragged for several meters until Peng was finally stopped by police officers.

Police officers dragged Peng out of the truck and arrested him.

Wang was rushed to National Taiwan University (NTU) Hospital where his condition was described as critical but stable.

At press time Wang was still in the hospital's intensive care unit. Hospital staff said Wang is suffering from broken ribs, hemothorax, fluid on the brain, a broken pelvic bone and liver lacerations.

Five other individuals -- including reporters from SETTV, FTV and the Chinese-language China Times, and a policeman -- were also taken to the hospital suffering from less serious injuries.

Late yesterday, police said they believed Peng did not run over the reporters intentionally, but still charged him with attempted murder before transferring him to the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office for further questioning.

"We did not find sufficient evidence that he did it on purpose," said Lee Jin-tien (李金田), director of Taipei City Police Department's Zhongzheng First Precinct.

Protesters began to gather early yesterday morning after the Ministry of Education's announcement that it would close off the memorial hall and the surrounding park at 9am yesterday.

The ministry obtained permission to alter the plaques -- one on the entry arch bearing the inscription dazhong zhizheng (大中至正), and the other, which read "Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall" above the entrance of the memorial hall itself -- after Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) approved an amendment to the Measures for Designation and Abolishment of Historical Sites (古蹟指定及廢止審查辦法) proposed by the Council of Cultural Affairs.

The decision has triggered strong protests from pan-blue politicians and their supporters.

"This [hall] was constructed to commemorate Chiang Kai-shek [蔣介石], whose contribution to Taiwan was greater than the damage he did," Lin Cheng-chieh (林正杰), a protester and leader of last year's anti-Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) movement told a group of around 30 people. "Chen cannot just tear down a historic building like this."

"Chen Shui-bian is a corrupt, shameless person! Dear Leader Chiang [蔣公], you must punish him!" Wu Tai-hsiu (吳台秀), another protester, cried out as she bowed to a picture of Chiang while holding three incense sticks.

Minor physical clashes broke out when a Taipei City Department of Labor official showed up to inspect the site.

Some protesters pushed, chased and hit him, but apologized and left after they discovered he was sent by the city government.

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