Legislators and members of the public criticized prosecutors for dropping the charges against 12 military officials in a case which raised fears of a return to Martial Law era authoritarianism and abuse of people’s rights, while the Ministry of National Defense said it respected the judiciary’s decision.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said yesterday that he very much regretted that prosecutors did not bring charges against the 12 military officials for their roles in a search in February at a civilian’s home for documents relating to White Terror era prosecution cases, as they did so at a residence belonging to a man in New Taipei City without obtaining a search warrant.
On Monday, the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office announced that the man, surnamed Wei (魏), had agreed to the search by military police officers and had signed a “consent” form, and that video evidence indicated that Wei had behaved in a natural way and did not seem to be coerced or put under any pressure.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
However, the statement did reprimand the military police and the Military Security Brigade for allocating excessive resources to the search at a civilian’s house and for a number of transgressions of the proper procedures.
“We have military police officers entering a civilian’s house to look for some stuff, but they did so without a search warrant. In a democratic nation, this cannot be tolerated. As for the statement by prosecutors, they are not even trying to uphold the rights of ordinary citizens,” Wang said.
Wang said he would continue to press for further investigation of the case as he does not want to see it swept under the carpet.
The legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee has approved a resolution to set up an ad hoc task force to access materials and documents pertaining to the case, he said.
Other members of the committee also expressed their concern and indignation over the charges being dropped.
New Power Party Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐) said he respected the judiciary’s decision, “but the outcome does not mean there was nothing wrong with human rights education in the military. The controversy arose from the gross abuse of the rights of citizens, and the claim by military officials that the man in question willingly gave his consent for the search.”
DPP Legislator Lu Sun-ling (呂孫綾) said the case has caused people to have anxiety about a return of White Terror era authoritarianism.
“We want to see the ministry stamp out these kind of activities, it must not be allowed to happen again,” Lu said.
The ministry released a statement on Monday saying it respected the decision not to bring charges and that it had requested the military agencies involved to review and rectify their handling of such cases, since some aspects of the case have been questioned.
Wei said he was dismayed by the prosecutors’ decision and disagreed with the assessment that he voluntarily agreed to have his house searched by the military police.
“I was scared to death at the time. Can I refuse to sign the consent form? I did not think it was possible,” Wei said. “I am just an ordinary person from the countryside, who does not know much about legal matters. How could I express my opinion at the time? What could I do?”
“Even when the police come to undertake an investigation it is a big deal for most people. In this case, the military police officers accused me of violating the law on national security. Anyone in my position would be nervous and highly stressed. How could I refuse their request at the time?” he said.
A domestically developed “suicide drone,” also known as a loitering munition, would be tested and evaluated in July, and could enter mass production next year, Taiwan’s weapons developer said on Wednesday. The yet-to-be-named drone was among nine drone models unveiled by the National Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) on Tuesday. The drone has been dubbed the “Taiwanese switchblade” by Chinese-language media, due to its similarity to the US-made AeroVironment Switchblade 300, which has been used by Ukraine in counterattacks during Russia’s invasion. It has a range of more than 10km, a flight time of more than 15 minutes, and an electro-optical
WORKING UP AN APPETITE: Sales at the Rueifong Night Market surged 20 to 30 percent, while seats at Liouhe Night Market were packed until 1am, market officials said South Korean pop band Blackpink’s concerts over the weekend in Kaohsiung helped draw large crowds to local night markets, the Kaohsiung City Government said yesterday. The two concerts on Saturday and Sunday at Kaohsiung National Stadium drew more than 90,000 people. The city government offered NT$50 vouchers to spend locally to concertgoers who showed their ticket stubs. Liouhe Night Market (六合夜市) management committee head Chuang Chi-chang (莊其章) said that crowds over the weekend surged at about 10pm and the market remained packed until 1:30am. “Almost all the seats were filled,” Chuang said. Night market stall owners had stocked up in expectation of an increased number
OFFLINE: People who do not wish to register can get the money from select ATMs using their bank card, ID number and National Health Insurance card number Online registration for NT$6,000 (US$196.32) cash payments drawn from last year’s tax surplus is to open today for eligible people whose national ID or permanent residency number ends in either a zero or a one, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday. Officials from the ministry revealed which days Taiwanese and eligible foreigners would be able to register for the cash payments at a joint news conference with the Ministry of Digital Affairs. Online registration is to open tomorrow for those whose number ends in a two or three; on Friday for those that end in a four or five: on Saturday
The Taipei City Government on Wednesday introduced of a series of tourism promotions, including free sightseeing bus tours and hotel discounts, in a bid to boost the number of international visitors. From now until June 30, 10,000 free Taipei Sightseeing Bus tickets are to be made available to travelers who stay in designated hotels for two nights, cruise passengers and European visitors transiting for more than 15 hours, the Taipei Department of Information and Tourism said. Eligible tourists can ask for the free four-hour unlimited ride bus tickets by presenting their passports at the hotels they stay in or from the