Burglary suspect’s release denied

Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, Aug 08, 2017 - Page 3

The Taipei District Court yesterday denied a habeas corpus appeal by a South Korean man who was arrested on Sunday in New Taipei City on suspicion of breaking into the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) headquarters and stealing cash.

Cho Jun-ki was apprehended in an empty building in Wulai District (烏來) after he was identified as a person of interest in the burglary that took place on Tuesday last week, the Criminal Investigation Bureau said.

Cho on Sunday evening asked for a writ of habeas corpus while being questioned at the district prosecutors’ office.

Cho said his arrest was illegal because he expressed his intention to give himself up and walked out with his hands raised, but was still brought down by a crowd of policemen and paraded in front of the media, prosecutors said.

Under the Habeas Corpus Act (提審法), anyone arrested or detained without a court decision has the right to petition for habeas corpus.

Habeas corpus is a court order that commands an individual or a government official who has restrained someone to produce the detainee at a designated time and place so that the court can determine the legality of custody and decide whether to order their release.

The court must address the petition within 24 hours of its receipt. If it determines after a probe that no arrest or detention should be made, the petitioner should be released.

Under the act, if the arrest or detention is determined to be necessary, the petition will be denied.

The Taipei District Court determined that Cho’s arrest is in line with legal procedure, because the police held a warrant for his arrest.

Cho during questioning also said he was guilty, the court said, adding that he was sent back to the district prosecutors’ office after his petition was denied.

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office was scheduled to question Cho later yesterday.

Cho is a fugitive wanted in several countries, including South Korea and the Philippines, police and prosecutors said, adding that he flew to Taiwan on July 31 and is suspected of having stolen NT$90,000 from the DPP headquarters the following day.

That same day, Cho took a flight to Japan, but was deported back to Taiwan on Thursday after being denied entry over visa issues. He then evaded border checks at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and took a taxi.

Following a tip-off, police found Cho in Wulai and arrested him.

Investigators said that Cho’s alleged burglary was spontaneous and that he spent most of the money on lodging and flights, bureau officer Chen Ming-chun (陳明君) said, adding that the bureau is investigating whether Cho has Taiwanese accomplices.

Surveillance footage shows a man entering the DPP headquarters’ unlocked eighth-floor offices for about 10 minutes and leaving without taking any files, computers or other equipment, the DPP said.