Tue, Mar 25, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Prosecutors seek to detain suspected leader of sit-in

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

Student protest leader Dennis Wei, right, speaks to fellow protesters as police look on during a sit-in at the Executive Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chien Jung-feng, Taipei Times

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday requested permission from the Taipei District Court to detain a student protester that prosecutors have accused of organizing the surprise siege of the Executive Yuan on Sunday night.

The court initiated a hearing at 8:30pm to decide whether to detain Dennis Wei (魏揚), a graduate student at National Tsing Hua University’s Institute of Sociology, and the proceedings were ongoing as of press time.

The office said that Wei has been charged with violating Article 150 of the Criminal Code — inciting people in an open assembly to employ threats or violence — which could see him face one to seven years in prison if found guilty.

The office said Wei was also charged with obstructing a police officer in the performance of their duties; destruction of property, abandonment and damage of property; breaking and entering; and violating the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (文化資產保存法), among other counts.

Prosecutors do not rule out that there were other key figures orchestrating the Executive Yuan siege and have reason to believe Wei could collude with others on his statement if he is not detained, the office added.

Wei’s volunteer attorney, Yu Po-hsiang (尤伯祥), said his client did not initiate the siege and was not even among the first group of student protesters to arrive at the Executive Yuan complex.

Wei’s father, National Dong Hwa University professor Wei Yi-Chun (魏貽君), said that when protesters started heading to the Executive Yuan at about 7pm on Sunday, his son was on a bus to Taipei from Hsinchu City, preparing to go back to the Legislative Yuan sit-in.

Wei Yi-Chun said his son called him at 7:50pm from the bus and told him he had just learned about the storming of the Executive Yuan from Facebook posts.

As the general convener of the Black Island Nation Youth Front — the group behind the Legislative Yuan occupation — Dennis Wei felt it was his responsibility to help organize the students, so he went to the Executive Yuan instead, Wei Yi-chun said.

Meanwhile, the National Police Agency said 61 people were arrested during serious clashes early yesterday morning at the Executive Yuan, 35 of whom were delivered to the prosecutors’ office for questioning.

Legal Aid Foundation vice secretary-general Hsieh Hsing-ling (謝幸玲) said more than 30 lawyers from the group voluntarily accompanied the students to the office to give them pro bono legal assistance.

The office said 13 students have been released on bail of between NT$20,000 and NT$30,000 on suspicion of inciting others to commit offenses; obstructing an officer; property destruction, abandonment and damage; transgressing the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act and other charges.

Taiwan Association of University Professors president Lu Chung-chin (呂忠津) brought NT$200,000 that had been donated by association members to the prosecutors’ office yesterday afternoon to bail out the students.

He said the 13 students’ bail had amounted to NT$340,000 and the remaining sum would be sent to the office soon.

Additional reporting by Hua Meng-ching

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