A man was sentenced to death on Wednesday for abusing and killing a two-year-old boy born to his live-in girlfriend.
Liu Chin-lung (劉金龍), who has a record of several drug-related offenses, was the first person to be sentenced to death for the crime of child abuse resulting in death in accordance with the Narcotics Endangerment Prevention Act (毒品危害防制條例).
In the past, the harshest penalty for child abusers was life imprisonment.
Chou Chien-hui (周建輝), One of the men who joined Liu in abusing the boy, was given a life sentence, while two others, Cheng Sheng-feng (鄭盛峰) and Hsu Kuan--hsiung (許冠雄), were sentenced to 14 years and 13 years in prison, respectively.
According to the Taipei District Court ruling, Liu took the boy away from his girlfriend’s apartment in October last year and left him with the three men. He told his girlfriend that the boy was with a babysitter.
From Oct. 11 through Nov. 1 last year, Liu and the three others physically abused the boy, which, according to the ruling, was done to try to get him to stop crying and screaming.
They even gave the boy amphetamines and heroin, causing him to fall into a coma. Early last November, the boy was taken to hospital, but did not show any vital signs. Doctors later found high levels of drugs in his body.
Sun Cheng-hua (孫正華), the chief judge in the case, said the defendants did not show any remorse for their cruelty and had used every means to evade responsibility and legal liability.
The defendants are entitled to appeal.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alicia Wang (王育敏) said the Legislative Yuan has completed the first reading of a package of amendments to the Children and Youth Welfare Act (兒童及少年福利法) that might have prevented the tragedy.
The amendments would require judicial police, prosecutors and courts to look into the living conditions of children whose parents or legal custodians are detained or imprisoned for drug offenses and to report their findings to the competent authorities.
Wang Wei-chun (王薇君), the boy’s aunt, said the boy’s father, who was divorced from his mother, is still serving a prison term for a drug conviction.
“Although prison officials once asked my brother whether he had any children, he did not answer the question honestly because he was afraid the child would be taken away from his mother,” she said. “I hope the proposed amendments are passed soon to allow law enforcement authorities to intervene and better protect youngsters from abuse.”