The recent decision by Banciao District Court to allow a taxi driver allegedly involved in the sexual assault of a Japanese woman to be released on bail has been criticized by netizens, who slammed the ruling as yet another example of so-called “dinosaur judges.”
Chinese-language media reported on Wednesday that a university exchange student from Japan was allegedly raped on Monday by a taxi driver who had offered her a ride after she got lost looking for her boyfriend’s apartment in a remote area of Tucheng District (土城), New Taipei City (新北市).
A taxi driver, surnamed Hsieh (謝), was arrested on Tuesday after police reviewed surveillance camera footage. Hsieh has admitted having sex with the woman, but denied the rape charge, saying it was a one-night stand. The woman’s Taiwanese boyfriend rejected the allegation.
Hsieh was freed on NT$50,000 bail.
The court’s decision sparked discussion on the Professional Technology Temple (PTT) — the nation’s biggest online academic bulletin board system — with some netizens criticizing the nation’s judiciary as hopeless, while others said the bail was too small.
The Banciao District Court said it decided to release Hsieh because there were no accomplices named in the case and he showed no sign of absconding. The court said Constitutional Interpretation No. 665 states that an alleged felony violation cannot serve as the prosecutors’ sole reason to detain an individual.
The prosecutors and the police were apparently unwilling to disclose more information to the public because the incident involved a foreigner.
Media reports said the alleged victim arrived at Yongning MRT station at about 7pm and started to walk to her boyfriend’s place. After getting lost, she was picked up by Hsieh, who allegedly drove her into the mountains and sexually assaulted her. Hsieh allegedly then left her in front of a convenience store, where a clerk found her crying.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was always concerned about the safety of foreigners in the country and it would deal directly with the Japanese Interchange Association, Tokyo’s representative office, if necessary.
Japanese Interchange Association Secretary-General Tsutsumi Naohiro said the agency offers assistance to any Japanese expatriates who encounter misfortune or have an accident.
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