The Taipei High Administrative Court has ruled that a protester who was dragged and beaten by unidentified police officers during demonstrations against Chinese envoy Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) in Taipei in 2008 was eligible to receive national compensation after video evidence revealed that he was unarmed and was facing away from police.
In the first compensation decision over the police response to the protests in November 2008, the court said on Wednesday that the Taipei City Government would have to pay Ted Chiang (江一德), a graduate student at National Taiwan University at the time, NT$300,000 in damages and NT$1,680 in medical costs.
The identity of the officers involved in the act was not revealed in the ruling and the officers have yet to be disciplined amid claims of a cover-up after the incident.
PHOTO: YANG KUO-WEN, TAIPEI TIMES
In its verdict on the precedent-setting case, the court said police officers failed to intervene after the clubbing, even as Chiang lay on the ground bleeding. The ruling added that the Taipei City Government failed to account for public safety and that there was a lack of police discipline.
Chiang told the Taipei Times yesterday he was satisfied with the ruling, adding that “it was never about the money — it was about principle and concern over the conduct of police.”
Chiang, who now works as a marketing manager, said he joined the demonstration after seeing footage on TV of police confiscating the national flag as part of the crackdown on the protests.
Soon after the attack, Chiang filed a lawsuit against the commanding officer at the scene. After he lost the lawsuit, he applied for national compensation from the Taipei City Government.
While Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday said the city government would not appeal, opposition lawmakers said they hoped the case would reinvigorate other cases of alleged police brutality currently in court.
“In the past, the court always sided against the public on these issues,” Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wong Chin-chu (翁金珠) said. “This time, however, the judge stood up for the public interest and protected our constitutionally protected freedom of expression.”
Chiang’s lawyer, Wong Kuo-yan (翁國彥), said he respected the Taipei City Government’s decision not to appeal, but said city authorities would have to “determine clearly which [police officers] were involved in the incident.”
The scuffle took place late on the night of Nov. 6, 2008, after about 2,000 students and activists surrounded and blockaded the Grand Formosa Regent hotel, where Chen was attending a dinner hosted by then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄).
Hundreds of police in full riot gear later descended on the protesters and escorted the Chinese envoy out of the hotel at about 2am, resulting in clashes with the mostly unarmed crowd. The rally was dispersed shortly thereafter, but not before allegations of police brutality surfaced.
“We were shocked at what took place that night,” Chiang said.
Video footage showed that along with several other white-shirted protesters, Chiang was looking away from the police line before he was dragged underneath riot shields and beaten with a club.
“Just as I was getting up again, a blow smashed into the back of my head. My whole body went limp and it felt like I was getting shocked by a taser,” he said.
“I had a serious concussion and for a month every time I closed my eyes, it felt like I was on a rollercoaster ride — everything would spin round and round,” he said, adding that his wound required seven stitches.
The cases of police brutality that surfaced following the sporadic protests held throughout that week prompted 25 civic groups and 218 academics to file a petition with the Control Yuan calling for an investigation into the entire National Police Agency-led crackdown.
Hundreds of university students also took part in sit-ins in front of the Executive Yuan and at Liberty Square days later in protest over the police’s actions.
According to the agency, 27 officers of the about 3,000 deployed were injured during the week of protests.
The government maintains that police action taken during “Operation Concord,” as the crackdown was known, was justified.
Taipei City Police Department Spokesman Chou Shou-sung (周壽松) declined to say whether the force would take action against the officers who injured Chiang.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY KO SHU-LING
TWO REPORTS: The body called on EU states to support the meaningful participation of Taiwan in international organizations, as well as closer cooperation with the nation The European Parliament has backed deepening ties with Taiwan and voiced concern about heightened tension across the Taiwan Strait in reports on two major security policies, which include a passage denying that Taiwan is subordinate to China. The parliament adopted the annual report on the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy in a vote of 338 in favor, 86 against and 122 abstentions during a plenary session from Monday to yesterday. It also passed the annual report on the implementation of the Common Security and Defense Policy in a vote of 350 in favor, 91 against and 96 abstentions. “Neither Taiwan
NEVER FORGET: Feb. 28 is a day to demand justice and redress, and remember the long, hard road Taiwanese walked to democracy, Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che said President-elect William Lai (賴清德) yesterday said he would work to safeguard the nation’s security and democracy to ensure freedom and economic prosperity, and that the tragic events of the 228 Incident “never happen in Taiwan again.” The Incident refers to the indiscriminate killing of a person in a crowd on Feb. 27, 1947, and the gunning down by the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government of protesters at a resulting demonstration the next day. It was followed by a brutal crackdown. Estimates of the number of eventual deaths vary from 10,000 to more than 30,000. The Incident was closely followed by the White
CRITICAL COMPONENTS: The tail was shielded because ‘enemy forces’ could estimate its speed and acoustic fingerprint by observing the propellers, an analyst said The nation’s first domestically built submarine prototype, the Hai Kun (海鯤號), yesterday was transferred to a dry dock for final harbor acceptance tests. The prototype has been undergoing harbor acceptance tests at the factory of shipbuilder CSBC Corp, Taiwan (台灣國際造船) in Kaohsiung since October last year after an unveiling ceremony in late September. On Monday evening, the prototype was towed from the CSBC factory to nearby Jong Shyn floating dock No. 8 and then transferred to a nearby dry dock, where the final tests were being conducted. As the submarine was being moved out of the factory to the floating dock, a large
NATIONALITY ACT: The draft amendments include a new provision that allows guardians of children who are stateless to apply for nationality on their behalf The Cabinet yesterday approved draft amendments to the Nationality Act (國籍法) to ease residency requirements for some foreign professionals applying for naturalization and to allow social welfare agencies to apply for naturalization on behalf of stateless children who are residents. The proposed amendments were approved by the Cabinet in September last year, but had to be reapproved and resubmitted because of the new legislative term that began on Feb. 1. The Ministry of the Interior said that the draft amendments would help improve the retention of professional talent by cutting the required period of residency for “foreign high-level professionals” (外國高級專業人才) applying for