The High Court yesterday found fugitive South Korean academic Park Jae-kyung guilty of sexual harassment, upholding a ruling by the Taipei District Court, which had sentenced him to 14 months in jail.
Park fled Taiwan last year when travel restrictions against him lapsed.
Park began teaching as a contract assistant professor at National Chengchi University’s Department of Korean Language and Culture in February 2017, but was dismissed in July that year following accusations of sexual harassment by several female students.
The Taipei District Court in December 2018 found Park guilty and sentenced him to 14 months in prison, commutable to a fine of NT$420,000 (US$13,848). The court also imposed travel restrictions against him.
Park and his lawyer filed an appeal with the High Court, which did not extend the travel restrictions after they expired in April last year.
Park left on a flight to South Korea in July last year.
Yesterday’s High Court ruling was final, but critics said justice was not served, as Park has evaded punishment due to judges’ oversight.
Several students said Park had taken advantage of his position to grope and pinch them during private consultations.
A female student surnamed Yeh (葉) said Park touched and groped her several times when she visited his office.
“Park stroked me just below my clavicle. He blew into my palm, then slapped my buttocks twice. He also pinched my cheek and my waist several times, despite my protests,” she said.
Investigators said that several other students detailed similar claims, while others said they had witnessed Park putting his hands on students and hugging them in class.
The university’s gender equality committee investigated the complaints: nine female students accused Park of sexual harassment, while 102 students signed a petition calling for his dismissal, alleging that he had verbally abused and threatened students, and was not fully prepared for his lectures.
Two female students had also sued Park and asked for compensation of NT$1 million each. A Taipei court in December last year ordered Park to pay NT$500,000 and NT$300,000 respectively to the two plaintiffs.
As Taiwan and South Korea do not have a legal assistance agreement, it will be difficult for the two students to obtain compensation.
Separately, the Taipei District Court yesterday announced that it would not proceed with the prosecution of former High Court judge Yang Ping-cheng (楊炳禎), who was accused of touching a nurse’s buttocks during a hospital stay last year.
As Yang had reached an out-of-court settlement with the woman, the case has been dropped, a court release said.
President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration is seeking to join an Indo-Pacific economic framework being planned by the US, a senior official said. The government is paying close attention to the regional economic pact being touted by US President Joe Biden, although too few details have emerged from Washington for Taipei to make specific plans, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The US is expected to launch the Indo-Pacific economic framework next month after negotiations with Australia, India and Japan, the official said. The economic initiative is to tackle trade facilitation, standards for the digital economy and technology, supply-chain resiliency and
PIVOTAL ROLE: Taiwan’s importance in the global chip supply chain can be bolstered by domestic equipment manufacturing, President Tsai Ing-wen said Efforts must be made to better secure Taiwan’s place in the global supply chain by localizing production of equipment and facilities used by the semiconductor industry, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday. Tsai discussed the issue during a meeting with representatives from the Taiwan Electronic Equipment Industry Association at the Presidential Office in Taipei. Product shortages throughout the COVID-19 pandemic — particularly of automotive chips — highlighted the pivotal role of Taiwan in the global supply chain, she said. Tsai thanked the association for cooperating with the government on the shared goal of localizing production of important semiconductor industry equipment.
SEPARATE CASE? A woman tested positive when she went with her daughter to be tested, because her daughter had taken the same bus to school as a steakhouse worker The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 10 local COVID-19 cases, six of whom had visited a steakhouse in Taoyuan where an infection cluster has been reported. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that of the 10 local infections, one case — No. 17,928 — is a Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport disease prevention staffer who works in the area where inbound travelers collect their saliva for a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, and sometimes at the fever screening station. The staffer had tested negative in a PCR test on Jan. 9 and
TRACING UNDER WAY: The CECC has identified six transmission chains among 25 recently confirmed COVID-19 cases, including those linked to a restaurant and a bank The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 54 new COVID-19 infections — 44 imported and 10 local — and identified six transmission chains among local cases. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said the imported cases are 18 who tested positive upon arrival at the airport and 26 who tested positive during quarantine. Of the local cases, seven are associated with a cluster infection at a Tasty Steak (西堤牛排) outlet in Taoyuan’s Zhongli District (中壢), one is linked to a family of four with COVID-19 reported on Monday, one is a family member of an