Sun, Jul 22, 2012 - Page 3 News List

No indictment for slander in homeless case

DIALOGUE WANTED:The Homeless of Taiwan said Taipei councilor Angela Ying had asked sanitary workers to spray water on the homeless, so she sued

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

After an investigation, a Taipei prosecutor has decided not to indict the Homeless of Taiwan (HOT) organization for accusing Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Angela Ying (應曉薇) of asking the city’s cleaning squad to spray water on homeless people in parks.

In December last year, the HOT, along with several welfare and human rights groups, held a news conference to urge the Taipei City Government to stop spraying water on homeless people sleeping in parks late at night or early in the morning.

In the news conference, the groups showed a video clip of a municipal cleaning crew intentionally spraying water on the homeless, as well as a voice recording and transcript of Ying asking the city government to do so during a question-and-answer session of a city council meeting.

Ying became the target of a public outcry following exposure of the video and the transcript and filed a lawsuit accusing the HOT of slander.

After months of investigation, the prosecutor decided not to indict the group and the group’s spokeswoman Kuo Ching-ying (郭靖盈).

In writing, Taipei District Prosecutor Huang Chiu-chen (黃久真) said “it is not baseless that the HOT accused Ying of urging the city government to spray water on the homeless” after reviewing evidence.

“All the video clips, transcripts and images of Ying in the city council’s question-and-answer session are authentic and open to the public and have not been forged,” Huang said, adding that consequently no indictment for slander would be made.

Kuo welcomed the decision after receiving it in writing late on Friday evening.

“The incident should be an opportunity for a dialogue on a public policy. We should sit down and talk about it together. If you have different ideas you may raise them, instead of taking legal action,” Kuo said.

“The reason why we exposed the video and the transcript last year was not to target Ying. Rather, we wanted to start a dialogue,” she added.

She said she was happy to see the prosecutor agreed with the group and believed that the way the city government handled the homelessness issue was inappropriate.

Ying was unavailable at press time for her reaction to the court’s decision.

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