The Changhua District Court yesterday approved prosecutors’ request to detain the leader of the religious organization Sun Moon Bright Light Group and three other members following the death of a teenager, Chan Chun-yu (詹淳寓), who was allegedly beaten and starved by his mother and members of the group.
Prosecutors filed the request after questioning the head of the group, Chen Chiao-ming (陳巧明), overnight, along with staff members Liu Hsiang-yi (劉享易), Hsu Ai-chen (許愛珍) and her husband, Lin Fu-peng (林甫朋).
Cingshuei Senior High School counseling department director Tsai Shu-fang (蔡淑芳), counselor Chan Su-chu (詹素珠) and school nurse Lin Hsiao-nien (林曉年), who were questioned as potential witnesses in the case, were later also listed as defendants. Tsai and Chan Su-chu were each released on NT$100,000 bail, while Lin Hsiao-nien was prohibited from relocation.
Two of Chen’s close aides were also named defendants, but were released after questioning.
A group member surnamed Wu (吳), who works as a director at a Changhua-based glass manufacturing company, was also named a defendant and was being questioned at press time, following his return from China earlier yesterday.
Chan Chun-yu’s mother, Huang Fen-chueh (黃芬雀), who has been detained since last week and named a defendant, allegedly told prosecutors that her son died from taking recreational drugs, not abuse.
However, prosecutors said an autopsy found no signs of drug use, and forensic doctors cited malnutrition, physical beatings and multiple organ failure as the cause of death.
Chinese-language media reports said the teenager was locked in a small room, tied up with ropes and repeatedly beaten by his mother and members of the group.
Prosecutors said Chen denied throughout the questioning that she had instructed group members to tie the boy up and beat him.
However, several defendants said it was Chen who ordered that the 18-year-old be tied up and that they only followed her instruction to beat him with a rubber hose and bamboo sticks because they were afraid of her.
Meanwhile, a number of parents have called up the school and expressed concern amid rumors that Tsai, Chan Su-chu and Lin Hsiao-nien had attempted to persuade other faculty members to join the Sun Moon Bright Light Group.
Cingshuei Senior High School secretary Wang Sheng-min (王勝民) yesterday said that the three did not preach their religion on campus.
The three took a leave of absence yesterday, Wang said, adding that the school board had met and decided that it would terminate their employment if they were indicted in accordance with the Teacher’s Act (教師法).