Sun, Apr 13, 2014 - Page 3 News List

SIEGE AFTERMATH: Lawmaker criticizes fingerprinting of the legislative chamber

By Chen Yen-ting, Chien Li-chung, and Chiu Yen-ling  /  Staff reporters

The collection of fingerprints from the legislative chamber by police forensics units after the protesters disoccupied it on Thursday was unconstitutional, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said.

Kuan also chastised Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) for allowing prosecutors and police to enter the chamber.

Kuan said that according to the Legislative Yuan Chamber Regulations (立法院議場規則), the debating room can be used only when a floor meeting or joint committee meeting is taking place and any other use has to be approved by a floor meeting — it is not contingent upon the speaker’s personal authority.

Allowing police — who represent the executive power — into the chamber to gather fingerprints and evidence violates the legislature’s autonomy, Kuan said.

While Wang and the legislature’s General Affairs Department did not respond to media inquiries about the evidence gathering, National Police Agency Director-General Wang Cho-chiun (王卓鈞) fully endorsed the action.

Wang Cho-chiun dismissed an accusation that the move was an attempted persecution, saying that it was done “in accordance with the law” and under the directive of prosecutors.

It will become clear in the following days who is criminally liable and who is not, the director-general added.

Judicial Reform Foundation executive director Kao Jung-chih (高榮志) criticized police for what he saw as their “passing the buck to prosecutors, who had already publicly said twice that they ‘respected the police’s administrative power.’”

Kao said that Wang Cho-chiun was lying and that he suspects the police were gathering information for the government under the pretense of handling potential criminal cases.

If found criminally liable, protesters could be subject to sentences of five years in prison, if they are not determined to be organizers, Kao said.

Kao described such sentences as “light.”

However, the police were investigating as though they were pursuing an organized crime syndicate — collecting fingerprints, DNA and videotaping — possibly to blacklist the students, Kao said.

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