High Court orders retrial of Sunflower movement lawsuit

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Mar 30, 2019 - Page 1

The High Court yesterday ordered a retrial of the Sunflower movement lawsuit against former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), former premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) and two police officers for attempted murder, assault and charges related to the forced eviction of protesters from the Executive Yuan compound in 2014.

The High Court ruling overturned the Taipei District Court’s decision in August last year to drop the case on the grounds of insufficient evidence.

The case was filed in 2014 by Chou Jung-tsung (周榮宗) and 22 other protesters against Ma, Jiang, then-National Police Agency director-general Wang Cho-chiun (王卓鈞) and Fang Yang-ning (方仰寧), then-police chief of Taipei’s Zhongzheng First Precinct.

Chou suffered injuries from being assaulted by police officers, blasted by water cannons and other violent tactics used by police officers in the early hours of March 24, 2014.

The police officers were following the orders issued by Jiang after he had informed Ma of his decision to evict the protesters.

Chou, a 67-year-old grandfather, suffered broken ribs, internal bleeding and other injuries.

He died on March 21, 2015, as a result of his injuries.

In the lawsuit, Chou and the other plaintiffs cited charges of attempted murder, assault, coercion and infringement of personal movement.

It claimed that Ma, Jiang and the two police chiefs had broken the law by ordering police officers to apply excessive force and to use violent actions in an attempt to evict the protesters.

The sit-in at the Executive Yuan compound was part of the 2014 Sunflower movement, in which students stormed the Legislative Yuan and occupied its main chamber on March 18 to protest against the government’s handling of the cross-strait service trade agreement.

After Chou died, his daughter continued the litigation, as the plaintiffs disagreed with the district court’s decision to drop the case without going to trial. They filed the appeal last year.

“There are still questions on whether police officers had conformed to the law in their actions, whether they had exceeded the mandate of their jobs and whether the ‘principle of proportionality’ of police actions against the protesters were observed, for which the Taipei District Court did not conduct a thorough investigation for verification,” a High Court statement said.