Sat, Dec 01, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Woman fined for swearing at officer

By Tsai Chang-sheng and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A woman in Hsinchu County has been fined NT$60,000 for swearing in front of a police officer after she was pulled over for a minor traffic violation.

The woman, surnamed Hsieh (謝), 47, was in June pulled over after making a right turn on a red light and did not have an ID with her, the Hsinchu District Court said in its decision.

She denied making the illegal turn, but later said that she was in a hurry and only wanted to get to the two-point-turn waiting area for scooters before the light changed, the ruling said.

Hsieh remained quiet when an officer surnamed Chen (陳) repeatedly asked for her ID, prompting Chen to take Hsieh’s scooter key to prohibit her from leaving until she told him the number.

Hsieh said that Chen had no authority to ask for her ID number or to take her key, and alleged that he had used excessive force.

“Can you not exercise better morals? God is watching. Why should I accommodate you? You use excessive force and you still want me to accommodate you?” the officer quoted Hsieh as saying.

He returned the key after running her ID number, at which point she said: “Fuck,” he said.

Chen said he felt that Hsieh’s swearing constituted an insult to him and pressed charges for contravening Article 140 of the Criminal Code, which stipulates that “a person who offers an insult to a public official during the legal discharge of his duties ... shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than six months, short-term imprisonment or a fine.”

Hsieh said that her swearing was simply an expression of frustration and was not directed at Chen.

The judges said a recording of their interaction convinced them that Hsieh had intended to insult Chen, adding that Hsieh should “improve her behavior.”

The court determined that Hsieh was belittling to Chen and therefore offended the dignity of a police officer.

As Hsieh showed no remorse and made no attempt to settle with Chen, the court found her guilty and sentenced her to two months imprisonment, commutable to a NT$60,000 fine.

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