Fri, May 12, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Taipei man used excessive force in self-defense: court

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Taipei resident Ho Po-han (何柏翰) on Tuesday vowed to appeal a civil court ruling requiring him to pay NT$640,000 (US$21,182) in compensation for the death of an alleged burglar.

Ho fought with the man in what he said was an act of self-defense.

The Taipei Shilin District Court on Monday ruled in favor of Chang Chun-ching’s (張俊卿) parents, who filed a civil case demanding NT$7 million in compensation, as the judges ruled that Ho had used excessive force in subduing Chang.

Chang died after Ho applied a choke hold as the two men fought inside Ho’s home.

Although Ho had the right to defend himself against aggression, the court said he had used excessive force resulting in Chang’s death and therefore had to bear 20 percent of the responsibility.

Chang, for entering Ho’s house with the intention of stealing, had to bear 80 percent of the responsibility, the court ruling said.

In an earlier criminal case launched by the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office, the Taiwan High Court in September last year upheld a lower court’s guilty verdict against Ho, handing down a suspended sentence of three months for death through negligence, which could be reduced to a NT$90,000 fine.

Ho has insisted that he acted properly to defend his pregnant wife when Chang broke into their residence in October 2014.

Ho kept Chang in a choke hold until the police arrived 10 minutes after being called.

By the time the police arrived, Chang had lost consciousness, and he later died at a local hospital.

Reviewing the evidence, the judges said Chang suffered from a cardiovascular condition and could not endure a long deprivation from oxygen, and that Ho’s tight choke hold had caused internal bleeding in the neck region.

They concluded that Ho’s actions had directly led to Chang’s death.

“This is a very unfair decision and I cannot accept it. I will definitely appeal it, because it is an injustice,” Ho told reporters.

“The burglar broke into my house first. How could I know whether he was carrying weapons or had brought accomplices?” Ho said.

In heated discussions on the Web, most posts voiced support for Ho and decried the judges for punishing a courageous man for acting in justified self-defense because he wanted to protect his wife, who was eight months pregnant at the time.

Some netizens wrote that Ho and his family were the actual victims and should not have to pay any compensation, since Chang was a criminal who broke into their home.

One person wrote: “Is the court encouraging burglars? So, when they fail to steal things, the victims have to compensate them?”

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