Fri, Nov 12, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Prosecutors defend themselves over alleged rapist's bail

WITHIN THE LAW Prosecutors have to act within the limits set down by the law and cannot bend the rules just because the public might desire it, they say

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei District Prosecutors' Office yesterday responded to criticism that it was too lax in detaining dangerous criminals, thereby risking them escaping justice, saying that they had to act according to the law.

"We can not detain a person just because we believe that he is dangerous," said Lin Bang-liang (林邦樑), spokesman for the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office.

The office came under fire after a local Chinese-language newspaper report on the releases of Hsu Kuo-bang (許國邦). Hsu is a well-known gynecologist who is suspected of raping at least four women during medical examinations.

Hsu has been a wanted fugitive from January until Tuesday when he was arrested after being pulled over in a police roadside check.

He was later transferred to the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office, but after interrogation was released on Wednesday on bail of NT$150,000.

"In addition to his being released on bail, prosecutors also banned him from international travel as well as relocation. We decided to release him because the reasons to detain him were not strong enough to persuade judges to approve the request," Lin said.

According to the prosecutors' investigation, Hsu is suspected of raping four women by drugging them on the pretext of carrying out a medical examination and then raping them while they were unconscious.

The case came to light after one of the victims made public a video tape which showed Hsu raping her in 2002. The victim said that, after being raped by Hsu a first time, she went to Hsu's clinic again two years ago with a hidden camera to obtain evidence of Hsu's behavior. Hsu raped her again and the offence was recorded on the video tape.

Instead of sending the video tape to any law enforcement office, however, the victim sent it to a local tabloid magazine.

The Taipei District Prosecutors' Office began its investigation although none of the victims pressed any lawsuits or complaints against Hsu.

Prosecutors decided to summon alleged victims and Hsu because forensic analysis showed that the footage was a master tape which had not been edited. Hsu said that he had not raped anybody. He said that he had had consensual sex with the tape-maker, but that she was trying to blackmail him for NT$300,000.

But after prosecutors summoned Hsu for questioning he disappeared and was added to the list of wanted fugitives in January.

Taipei District Prosecutor Huang Sai-yueh (黃賽月) explained why Hsu had been released on bail yesterday.

"On Hsu's `wanted' announcement, the reason for his being sought was sexual harassment. not rape," Huang said. "We cannot detain somebody just because he sexually harassed a victim. The reason was not persuasive."

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