Cleaning corpses is a professional job, and making drunk-driving offenders do it might not punish them, but punish the deceased, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday.
During a Taipei City Council meeting on Friday, Democratic Progressive Party Taipei City Councilor Ho Chih-wei (何志偉) suggested that repeat drunk-driving offenders should be sentenced to clean cadavers as punishment.
There were a total of 11,000 cases of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) reported in Taipei during 2014 and last year, and this year 8,109 more cases had been reported as of August.
During a question-and-answer session at the council, Ho said repeat offenders often have their prosecutions deferred and are ordered to perform community service such as sweeping the floor of public libraries, which serves no deterrent effect.
“You drink, you drive, you wash,” he said, suggested morgues would be a better place for such community service.
Cleaning bodies would allow repeat offenders to “wash away their sins,” Ho said.
Such punishment has been used in Thailand and some US states, while other US states require drunk driving offenders to visit a morgue.
Taiwan should emulate these examples, Ho said.
Pressed by reporters yesterday, Ko said the Taipei City Mortuary Services Office was unlikely to agree with Ho’s suggestion, as cleaning the bodies of the dead should be done by professionals.
“Cleaning cadavers is a professional job, so having drunk-driving offenders do it may be a punishment for the deceased,” he said.
“Drunk-driving offenders must be caught,” Ko said, adding that the number of deaths in the city caused by drunk driving is relatively low, but the police have to spend a lot of time checking for drunk drivers.
Ko said that he has asked the Taipei Department of Social Welfare to think of better ways to reduce the incidence of drunk driving.
Taipei Mortuary Services Office Superintendent Huang Wen-ting (黃雯婷) said that while her office respects Ho’s “creative suggestion,” it has to consider other factors, including religious rituals and practices and respect for the deceased.
Ho’s suggestion will be discussed among city agencies and a response is expected within a month, she said.
Additional reporting by Huang Chien-hao
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