Thu, Apr 23, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Father accused of killing daughter with broomstick

By Jenny W. Hsu, Flora Wang and Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Another child died at the hands of a father on Tuesday evening after he allegedly beat her to death with a broomstick, authorities said yesterday, making it the second death from child abuse this week.

The Kaohsiung Prosecutors Office said the man, surnamed Chang, beat his two-year-old daughter on three occasions on Tuesday for disobeying him.

The broomstick that the father used to hit the girl reportedly broke in half during the final assault. Police arrested the man on a charge of murder by aggravated assault. He faces between seven years and life in prison if found guilty.

“Preliminary medical tests show that she died of a brain hemorrhage. We feel there are some discrepancies between the statements made by the father and the surface wounds we found on the girl,” said prosecutor Chung Chu-sheng (鐘祖聲), saying an autopsy had been scheduled to determine the cause of death.

A statement tendered by the man to police in Fongshan City (鳳山) said that he was at home alone with the child on the afternoon of the beating. But his wife, a Chinese national, said she heard her husband beating their daughter while she was taking a nap.

When she woke up around 4pm, she found her daughter tied to a bedpost in another room, the police said.

The mother also said she had freed the girl but later discovered her daughter had fainted and immediately called an ambulance, which rushed the girl to Kaohsiung Armed Forces General Hospital.

The couple’s seven-year-old son has been placed in temporary foster care, said Wu Li-hsueh (吳麗雪), the director of the Kaoshiung County Government’s Bureau of Social Affairs.

The latest case follows that of a 10-month-old baby girl in Changhua County who died of multiple organ failure on Tuesday morning after being thrown into a pot of boiling water by her father on Saturday. He has been arrested over the incident.

It was reported that the mother might also face charges of incitement to commit murder for daring her drunken partner to toss the girl into the pot during an argument. The woman, however, yesterday said she was not present when he threw their daughter into the pot.

In response to the recent cases, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) yesterday proposed an amendment to the Criminal Code (刑法) that would seek the death penalty or life in prison for individuals who kill their children or grandchildren. He told reporters in the Legislative Yuan that the Criminal Code does not provide for this.

“Troubled times call for drastic measures. I propose amending Article 272 of the Criminal Code and introducing the death penalty or life imprisonment for those who murder their children,” Chiu said.

Chiu said his proposal would also include amendments to Articles 280 and 281 of the code, which would extend by half jail terms for those who harm or abuse immediate family members.

However, Chiu’s proposal received a mixed reaction from other KMT legislators.

KMT Legislator Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said the law alone could not change the situation for the better.

“Some [people] may be suffering from depression or have a short temper because of unemployment, while others may become psychologically unstable ... Tragedies are more likely to happen to families of these people,” Wu said, adding that the government and the public should work together to prevent domestic violence.

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