Sun, Jun 24, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Yunlin councilor guilty in smoking incident

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

A Yunlin County councilor was found guilty and had his civil rights suspended by the Yunlin District Court on Friday for refusing to stop smoking in a coffee shop, and instead pushing and threatening a policewoman called to deal with the matter.

The Yunlin District Court said Yunlin County Councilor Lin Chao-pao (林朝寶), a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) member, violated regulations by smoking inside a coffee shop last month.

The incident took place early on the morning of May 15 in the county’s Dounan Township (斗南). Lin threatened staff, saying “I will have your shop closed” and “I will have you lose your job” when they asked him not to smoke in the shop, the ruling said.

The ruling said that as two police officers arrived to take care of the matter, Lin pushed a policewoman surnamed Ho (何), into a door and said: “If I am unable to have your chief transfer you to Taisi (台西) [a township in the county], I will change my surname to yours.”

The incident came to light after other people in the shop filmed the entire incident and it was reported in the Chinese-language press, prompting the Yunlin police to bring charges against the councilor.

The district court sentenced Lin, 42, to one year in prison and granted him a three-year probation for offenses of interfering with public functions (妨害公務罪).

The court also fined Lin NT$100,000 (US$3,300) and demanded he publish an apology to the two officers in newspapers.

The court said Lin’s behavior showed he was not fit to be a councilor, so the court stripped him of his civil rights for three years.

In response, Lin said he would appeal the ruling to the High Court’s Taichung Branch.

According to the law, cases of offenses of interference with public functions cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court. If the High Court’s Taichung Branch finds Lin guilty and suspends his civil rights, Lin will lose his councilor’s seat and will be unable to take part in the next council election.

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