Second rally over Hung’s death scheduled for Taipei

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Sat, Jul 27, 2013 - Page 3

A civic group said it would organize another rally in Taipei next week to protest what it said was the government’s attempts to keep the public in the dark about the truth behind the death of an army corporal this month.

Citizen 1985, which organized the July 20 rally in front of the Ministry of National Defense that drew 30,000 people, said it was organizing another protest because the public still does not know what really happened in the final hours and days before Hung Chung-chiu’s (洪仲丘) death on July 4.

Hung collapsed on July 3 after being sent to a detention brig for seven days and ordered to do drills because he brought a smartphone with a camera onto his base after returning from leave. An autopsy showed that the 24-year-old Hung died of a heatstroke.

The ministry has said the punishment was too harsh considering the offense and that Hung should not have been subjected to the drills.

A spokesman for Citizen 1985 said the group had obtained permission to use Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office beginning at 4pm next Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Taipei City Police Department’s Zhongcheng First branch dismissed allegations that it is questioning people who live near Taipei Main Station as a security measure ahead of next week’s protest. It said police officers were carrying out regular duties and clamping down on illegal hotels in the area.

Local media reports cited unnamed netizens who said they had received calls from police officers seeking information about tenants in apartments they have rented. Police who later inspected their apartments said “the inspection was required by supervisors.”

First branch head Fang Yang-ning (方仰寧) said his officers were conducting public safety inspections on buildings in the area and looking for unregistered hotels in accordance with Taipei City Government’s efforts to close illegal “daily rental suites.” There are many such suites around the railway station, which are popular with backpackers.

Fang said the city’s Department of Information and Tourism had provided police with a list of apartments or hotels that had violated business regulations or were operating illegally and officers had been dispatched to check the sites to ensure public safety.

“Our purpose is to protect public safety and the safety of the people in the area. It has nothing to do with the rally or issues related to the freedom of speech,” he said.

Fang said the branch would enhance officer training and the police would provide better explanations of their duties when carrying out inspections.