Wed, Jan 31, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Groups call for probe into arrests

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

The Taipei Bar Association, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights and other groups yesterday called on the Control Yuan to investigate what they said was the illegal arrest last month of lawyers and members of the public during a protest in Taipei against amending the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法).

Thousands of people gathered outside the Legislative Yuan on Dec. 23 to voice their opposition to the proposed amendments. At about 11pm, a group of about 50 protesters moved to Taipei Railway Station.

Police cordoned off the area around the group at the station and began arresting people, including lawyers Ting Wen-sheng (丁穩勝) and Chen Yu-hsin (陳又新), putting them in police cars and then driving them to random, remote locations to be dropped off, the Taipei Bar Association said.

The police failed to provide a legal basis for the arrests, the association said, adding that Ting and Chen had hoped to act as liaisons between the police and protesters.

The association issued a statement on Dec. 24 asking the government to investigate the arrests and apologize for the round-up.

The Taipei City Police Department recently denied having forced any lawyer who had identified themselves to leave the train station or get into police cars, while the Ministry of the Interior said it respected the decisions of local authorities, Taipei Bar Association president Hsueh Chin-feng (薛欽峰) said yesterday.

Chen, who was dropped off in Neihu District (內湖) on Dec. 23, said that “none of the lawyers who had identified themselves as lawyers were allowed to leave, and we have videos to prove that.”

Several lawyers arrested that night have filed charges at the Taipei District Court against the head of the Taipei City Police Department, Chen Jia-chang (陳嘉昌), Taipei Police Department Zhongzheng District First Precinct Chief Liao Tsai-chen (廖材楨) and the head of the Jieshou police station, Tsai Han-cheng (蔡漢政), Chen said.

“We are saddened that lawyers can still get arrested at rallies in Taiwan more than 30 years after the lifting of martial law,” Hsueh said.

It is a lawyer’s job to protect people’s rights and if a lawyer has proven their identity and made clear that they are there to provide assistance, the police have no legal basis for arresting them or restricting their personal freedom, he said.

Since the Executive Yuan has failed to thoroughly investigate the incident, the Control Yuan should review it and clarify issues related to police enforcement, he said.

“This is not the first time police have forced people into police cars and then dropped them off at random locations,” Taiwan Association for Human Rights chairman Weng Kuo-yan (翁國彥) said.

The authorities have continued to allow it to happen even though there is no legal basis for such actions, which are an encroachment on personal freedom, he said.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top