A graduate student at National Taiwan University (NTU) surnamed Chao (趙) brought charges of property damage against the university’s bicycle towing division, which said it was only following school regulations.
Chao’s bicycle was locked to a post, but the lock was forcibly cut by division head Lin Chien-fu (林建福) and staff workers in accordance with university rules, which say that bicycles not parked in accordance with school regulations will be moved to an appropriate place, and if necessary their locks cut open.
The rules also stipulate that starting from the fourth violation, a fee of NT$50 would be charged for removal of the bike, Lin said, adding that this was the first time the division was sued in the many years that the rule has been in force.
Lin said that as students’ bikes have their own ID numbers, statistics showed that, including the most recent incident, Chao’s bike had recorded 19 violations since October last year.
The incident caused a stir on the PTT bulletin board Web site, where many students have left posts in support of Lin and NTU staff, with a student surnamed Liu (劉) even saying that she remembered the university told students beforehand that illegally parked bikes on campus would have their locks cut open and removed to an appropriate location.
Everybody knew this and Chao had no reason to bring charges or demand compensation as the problem was his alone, Liu said
Lin said that on Dec. 11 he went on his rounds with three other staff members of the division and found Chao’s bike illegally parked and locked against a post.
Chao, unhappy that his lock was cut open, had asked Lin to repay him NT$300, but then Chao brought the case to the police, who notified the school on Tuesday.
“I went to the police department with the other people on duty when the incident happened to explain the matter,” Lin said, adding that the case was sent to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office for investigation.
“I’ve never been arrested before and was only doing my job,” Lin said.
Translated by Jake Chung, staff writer