Legal experts have recommended prison time for a man who has been arrested 13 times after being accused of sexual harassment targeting young women on Taipei’s MRT metropolitan railway system.
The 71-year-old, surnamed Chien (簡), who lives in New Taipei City’s Jhonghe District (中和), has allegedly taken advantage of crowded MRT environments to rub his lower body against women, or smear semen on their arm or clothing, according to investigations, including evidence from CCTV footage from inside MRT cars.
A young woman last month told police that she had been sexually harassed by an elderly man, who rubbed himself against her near Dongmen Station (東門) in Taipei’s Daan District (大安).
After reviewing video footage, police identified the man as Chien and said that he had been accused of committing a similar act in September.
Chien has been accused in at least 12 such incidents since 2008, police said, adding that there “might be other incidents that have not been reported.”
Police said that they questioned him last month and he denied the latest accusation, saying that he made contact with the woman by accident while taking a seat.
He asked to be left alone on account of his age, police said.
Investigators said that Chien has used the same denial and excuse each time he has been questioned.
Authorities last week said that despite being charged with sexual harassment 12 times and convicted four times — with judges sentencing him to three to five months in prison — Chien has not spent time in prison, as each sentence was commuted to a fine.
Police said that Chien is on trial in one other case, while two have been settled out of court and three women have declined to press charges.
Attorney Chen Hsiang-chuan (陳湘傳) said that Chien’s situation shows that fines have no deterrent effect on him.
Most of the fines are less than NT$100,000, which for a wealthy man is a small amount, Chen said, adding that Chien should be given a prison term without the possibility of commutation, as “losing his personal freedom” might convince him to stop the behavior.
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