Mon, Feb 06, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Police mull charges for Makiyo’s friend over taxi assault

Staff Writer, with CNA

Singer and actress Makiyo, second right, and her mother, right, apologize to the wife of a taxi driver surnamed Lin, who was hospitalized after being beaten by one of the actress’s friends Friday night. Makiyo was in the same taxi as the man that beat up the driver.

Photo: Sean Chao, Taipei Times

Takateru Tomoyori, a Japanese friend of local singer and actress Makiyo, has been ordered not to leave the country after he was arrested and charged with causing bodily harm to a taxi driver following a dispute.

Tomoyori was arrested on Friday after attacking a taxi driver, surnamed Lin (林), who suffered serious head injuries, two fractured ribs and a concussion.

Tomoyori was released on bail of NT$50,000.

The case has been transferred to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office.

The taxi driver remained in a hospital intensive care unit as of press time.

Local media reported that the incident happened after Lin asked Tomoyori to buckle his seat belt and Tomoyori refused.

Makiyo, who was in the taxi with Tomoyori and two female friends, held a press conference with Tomoyori on Saturday, where she claimed they had worn their seat belts and alleged that the taxi driver had fondled her when returning change for the fare. It was at that point that Tomoyori hit Lin, Makiyo said.

The language barrier also played a role in the dispute, she said. Tomoyori speaks Japanese, while Makiyo, who is of Japanese and Taiwanese heritage, speaks both Japanese and Mandarin.

Lin’s family has since denied claims of sexual assault, alleging that Makiyo did not even pay the taxi fare, let alone have any change returned to her.

Police said that Makiyo’s claim Tomoyori hit Lin to protect her was questionable given that several passersby had witnessed the incident and said the taxi driver did not fight back when Tomoyori knocked him to the ground.

Tomoyori and his three companions then took another taxi, leaving the injured Lin lying on the ground, police said, adding that they suspected the four passengers were drunk at the time.

Taipei Deputy Chief Prosecutor Huang Mo-hsin (黃謀信) said that in light of the severe injuries suffered by Lin, prosecutors will review Lin’s hospital reports and take statements from both the taxi driver and witnesses before as decision is made as to whether to charge Tomoyori with aggravated assault.

Accompanied by her mother, Makiyo yesterday visited Lin at the Taipei Medical University Hospital and tearfully apologized to Lin’s wife.

Tomoyori, accompanied by his lawyers, also visited the hospital twice in an effort to meet with members of Lin’s family, but they declined to see him on both occasions.

Additional reporting by Rich Chang

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