Police yesterday identified three students from Taipei City’s Qiang Shu High School as suspects in a case in which they allegedly filmed themselves pouring urine and excrement on sleeping homeless people. The video was uploaded to YouTube, causing an Internet uproar on Friday.
The three could be fined NT$1,500 (US$50) each or given a warning for violating Article 91 of the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法), police from the Taipei City Police Department’s Wanhua Precinct said.
Police summoned the students, surnamed Chen (陳), Tseng (曾) and Chi (紀), for questioning, after which Tseng and Chen, accompanied by Chen’s mother, said they would never make the mistake again and knelt in front of the press in apology.
The other student involved in the issue, Chi, uploaded a 37-second video online to apologize.
“Besides feeling sincerely sorry, I do not know what else to say. To those who have been hurt by this incident — my school and the homeless people — I am very sorry. I do not know why I did such an outrageous thing. From now on, I will do my best to help the homeless,” he said.
Qiang Shu High School director of student affairs Wang Fu-sheng (王福勝) quoted Chen’s parents as saying their son was diagnosed with hyperactivity disorder and depression and that they would shoulder responsibility for their son’s activities.
Chen’s parents said they hope the public will give their son another chance, Wang said.
In the YouTube clip, students are shown pouring excrement and urine over the heads or directly into the faces of sleeping homeless people near Ximending MRT station.
After the students uploaded at least 36 clips showing themselves abusing homeless people, a huge number of netizens took notice, expressing their anger. Some accused the students of disregarding human dignity, saying their actions were despicable, while others said this went far beyond the level of a prank. One netizen said he was worried that the nation’s education was now rotten to the core.
Wang said the students’ actions were over the top and the school would be holding a meeting to determine what punishments to mete out.
Whatever the school decides will depend on the students’ attitudes, Wang said, adding that “the punishment would be nothing less than a great demerit.”
Some netizens dismissed the school’s handling of the situation, with one asking: “If the students were willing to do such a thing, would it matter to them that they are given a great demerit?”
Another netizen suggested those who are outraged by the incident should help the homeless victims by pooling their resources to help them hire a lawyer and sue the three students.
Police said it was evident the students had violated the law, adding that officers had asked for the school’s cooperation in investigating the case.
Additional reporting by Tsai Wei-chi and Hu Ching-hui
Translated by Jake Chung, Staff Writer