The Ministry of Justice held a meeting yesterday to review the parole application from the serial rapist known as the "Hwakang Wolf," but made no decision on whether to grant him parole so that he can attend National Taiwan University this September.
The meeting, which ended at noon, was attended by rehabilitation personnel from the Taipei Prison, the ministry's Department of Corrections prosecutors, medical doctors and physiologists.
Vice Minister of Justice Hsieh Wen-ting (謝文定) said that no decision was taken at the meeting and that the ministry would gather academic experts for a second evaluation next week at the earliest.
The Wolf, usually identified only by his surname, Yang, was convicted on nine charges of theft and 27 counts of raping female college students in the Shihlin and Peitou areas. He has served seven years of his 17-year sentence.
Ministry officials at the meeting agreed to solicit opinions from psychological experts and social associations as soon as possible to use as reference materials.
Hsieh said that no pressure will be applied to speed up a decision, and that the ministry -- in order to strike a balance between legal regulations and expert opinion -- would be very careful in its review of this case.
Yang took the Joint College Entrance Exam in the summer of 2001 and was granted admission to the sociology department at National Taiwan University.
A university official was quoted by local media as saying that Yang could extend his registration at the school for one more year. That means that if he is not granted parole this year, he would still have a chance to attend the school next year.
Meanwhile, Wen Chen-yuan (溫振源), dean of the university's Office of Student Affairs, was quoted by a local Chinese-language newspaper yesterday as saying that in case the ministry decides to approve Yang's application, the school has already set up an advisory group that could react immediately should something untoward occur.
According to the report, Wen added that, since school is neither the police nor a prison, if the ministry decided to approve Yang's application, the university could only accept the fact but would have to request that more police be assigned to patrol the campus and the surrounding area.
The question of whether Yang, who has an IQ of 160, should be released from prison and allowed to lead a normal life has drawn widespread attention from society, particularly among students at the university.
Some of the university's students have argued that people make mistakes and that even a repeat offender should be given an opportunity to start a new life.
Others have said that allowing Yang to appear on campus is tantamount to freeing a wild jackal from its cage.