Sun, Apr 03, 2016 - Page 1 News List

Random Killing Aftermath: Poll shows 80 percent back harsher sentences

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

A man places a candle on a street in Taipei’s Neihu District yesterday where a four-year-old girl was killed on Monday.

Photo: Chen Yi-kuan, Taipei Times

A large majority of the public favors harsher sentences for people convicted of killing children under the age of 12, according to a poll, which showed strong support for the death penalty following the decapitation of a four-year-old girl on Monday.

A survey conducted by Television Broadcasts Satellite’s (TVBS) poll center found that 81 percent of respondents supported mandatory death or life in prison sentences for murder of a child under 12 years old.

Lawmakers have proposed making the sentences mandatory following the decapitation of the girl, surnamed Liu (劉), nicknamed “Little Lightbulb” (小燈泡), in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖).

Broad support for the proposed changes cut across party lines and age groups, with 64 percent of those surveyed “extremely supportive.”

The TVBS poll found that 84 percent of respondents supported maintaining the death penalty, up 2 percentage points from a similar survey conducted in June last year. Support for abolishing the death penalty fell 3 percentage points from the previous poll.

When asked whether life in prison without parole could serve as an alternative to the death penalty, only 27 percent agreed, the poll showed.

There was a slight decline in the percentage of those who said that the death penalty acts as a deterrent for crime, with 79 percent agreeing compared with 85 percent last year.

The cable network operator’s telephone poll was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday, with 847 valid samples and a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.

In related news, the girl’s mother — identified as Claire Wang — said on Facebook yesterday that while she “does not support” the death penalty, she also “does not agree” with its abolition.

“Often many thoughts and ideas are like religion and politics — rooted in the heart. Those who believe will always believe and those who do not never will — I only believe in what I’ve always believed in,” she said. “I still believe that love is the heart’s first intention, that society is beautiful and that human nature at its root is good.”

She asked that people who read her Facebook comments to “forgive” her for failing to respond or clarify every comment, adding that she was not “mighty” or “extraordinary” and lacked strength, caring only that her family and friends understood her.

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