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.
KMT Legislator Chu Fong-chi (朱鳳芝) agreed with Wu, saying that the legislature should debate Chiu’s proposal.
But KMT legislators Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) and Lee Ching-hua (李慶華) both voiced support for Chiu’s suggestion.
“Introducing severe punishments ... would help prevent similar cases from happening again,” Lo said.
Also yesterday, civic groups urged amendments to the Children and Juveniles Welfare Act (兒童及少年福利法) to include grassroots officials such as borough and village chiefs as part of the child abuse prevention network.
“Since 2005, 86 children have been wounded and 70 killed as a result of abuse. The death toll for this year alone has reached five as of today,” Children’s Welfare League Foundation executive director Alicia Wang (王育敏) told a news conference at the legislature yesterday.
Wang, along with Women’s Rescue Foundation chairman Kevin Liao (廖英智), executive director Cynthia Kao (高小晴) and Democratic Progressive Party legislators Chen Chieh-ju (陳節如) and Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇), observed a minute’s silence for the deceased children before the press conference started.
“These are all cases in which children were hurt before the government could stop it. This means that there are loopholes in the child abuse prevention network,” she said. “We need someone at the community level in the network.”
Only police, teachers, medical personnel and social workers are allowed to report possible child abuse cases.
Chen supported Wang’s suggestion, saying that borough, village and neighborhood chiefs should be part of the network.
“If we have laws making borough and neighborhood chiefs responsible for helping the elderly or the physically and mentally challenged, why can’t we put them in charge of reporting possible child abuse cases?” Chen said.
Chen also suggested that couples be required to attend children education courses and anger management classes after getting married. The two lawmakers both vowed to push for amendments to the law.
Commenting on Chiu’s suggestion to revise the law to provide more severe penalties for killing one’s child, Liao said that preventative measures, rather than penalties, are more important and more effective.
“We hope to strengthen the social network to give children more support,” Liao said. “But penalties won’t achieve the objective.”
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
BRIBERY CASE: President Tsai Ing-wen accepted Su Jia-chyuan’s resignation as he said that he deeply regretted causing trouble for the president due to the investigation Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday resigned after his nephew, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), was implicated in a bribery case related to a dispute over the ownership of Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨). “I resigned from the post so that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would not be bothered by it anymore, and the prosecutors can investigate the case in a fair and just manner. I thank President Tsai once again for supporting me. May the country continue to prosper under her leadership,” Su Jia-chyuan said in a statement. The Presidential Office said that Tsai has accepted
‘INCREASINGLY FAVORED’: Taiwan’s ‘transparent laws and efficient courts’ as well as its financial institutions give it a major advantage to become a financial hub, Tsai said Taiwan would liberalize banking and investment rules to establish itself as a regional financial hub, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) told the Taiwan Capital Market Forum in Taipei yesterday. Recent world events could be an opening for Taiwan to become an international center for business investments and financial management, Tsai said at the forum, which was organized by the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the sister publication of the Taipei Times). “We’re facing unknowns in the world right now, including the continuing impact of US-China trade tensions and the reorganization of the global supply chain after COVID-19,” Tsai said. “These bring new challenges and opportunities.” Tsai
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would