The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the conviction of Puyuma Express train driver Yu Chen-chung (尤振仲), who was found guilty of negligence after a train derailed in 2018, which claimed the lives of 18 people and left more than 200 injured.
The ruling rejected Yu’s appeal, and upheld the earlier verdict that sentenced Yu to four years and six months in prison, after finding him responsible for the derailment.
The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications in respective statements said they respect the decision by the court.
TRA officials said they would improve the training program for drivers, enforce working regulations for train crews, and would enforce strict compliance on maintenance and repair work.
New safety policies are in place, including speed controls automatically reducing trains’ speed to 60kph or slower if the automatic train protection system gets shut down, and requiring trains to make an emergency stop if the driver encounters a malfunction, while manually turning off the malfunctioning mechanism would be strictly prohibited.
Yu was driving the southbound Puyuma Express No. 6432 heading for Taitung on Oct. 21, 2018, when it approached the Sinma Station (新馬) in Yilan County’s Suao Township (蘇澳), entering a curve at almost twice the permitted speed, investigators found.
The first ruling by the Yilan District Court found Yu at fault for the derailment, as it was the direct result of him turning off the automatic train protection system.
Yu had erroneously believed there was a system malfunction, but there had been a power failure originating from the air compression system.
The automatic train protection system is to ensure train safety, and to make continuous checks and monitor that the train is within the speed limit for a particular segment of the line.
The other two defendants, former TRA Locomotive Department deputy head Liu Tsan-huang (柳燦煌) and former TRA Central Dispatch Center head Wu Jung-chin (吳榮欽), were found not guilty due to insufficient evidence.
Yu and prosecutors objected to the verdicts in the first ruling and filed to appeal.
In the second ruling at the High Court, judges found that Yu was liable due to his misjudgement in turning off the mechanisms for power transmission and the automatic train protection system.
Prosecutors cited evidence that showed that Yu had turned off the automatic train protection system, but did not turn it back on.
Judges in the second ruling found that Yu was in control as the driver, and that turning off the automatic train protection system led to excessive speed going into the curve, resulting in the train derailing.
The ruling found him guilty of negligence, and he was handed a four-year and six-month term.
The Supreme Court confirmed the earlier investigation findings, ruling that Yu was liable for negligence while on duty in his professional capacity, causing the fatal crash.
The court’s decision is final and cannot be appealed.
Measures have been taken to minimize damage from Chinese espionage, the Ministry of National Defense said on Monday, in response to an alleged plan to deliver a Chinook helicopter to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. The Chinese-language CTWANT magazine earlier in the day reported that a lieutenant colonel surnamed Hsieh (謝) was approached by Chinese officers with an offer to evacuate his family to Thailand in the event of a cross-strait conflict. In exchange, Hsieh was asked to fly a CH-47F Chinook helicopter to a Chinese aircraft carrier in the Taiwan Strait, the magazine said. Hsieh initially declined, but accepted after he was
SAFETY IN REGULATION: The proposal states that Chiayi should assess whether it is viable to establish such a district and draft rules to protect clients and sex workers The Chiayi City Council passed a motion yesterday to assess the viability of establishing a regulated red-light district. The council yesterday held its last session of the year, at which its fiscal 2024 budget was approved, along with 61 other proposals. The proposal to assess the viability of establishing a red-light district was put forward by independent Chiayi City Councilor Molly Yen (顏色不分藍綠支持性專區顏色田慎節). The proposal cited 2011 amendments to the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法), which stipulate that city and county governments can pass autonomous regulations on the sex trade to manage the industry and guarantee industry workers’ rights. A ban on the
STABILITY AND CHANGE: Flagging in recent polls, Ko this week pledged to maintain President Tsai’s foreign policy, with an emphasis on improving China relations Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday reiterated that he is “deep-green at heart” in response to accusations that he is pivoting his campaign to align closer with the ideology of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the face of flagging polls. Ko made the remark at an agricultural policy conference in Taipei, repeating his comments from an interview with CTS News a day earlier. Ko told the CTS host that he would continue to pursue President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) national defense and foreign policy in general, but with an emphasis on establishing a rapport with
CHINA illness surge: Of 88 travelers from China, Hong Kong and Macau with respiratory symptoms who were encouraged to get tested upon arrival, 70.6% had the flu Two hundred and sixty people with COVID-19 were hospitalized and 31 deaths related to the virus were reported last week — the highest numbers in four weeks, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday, adding that cases are expected to peak next month. CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said that of the 260 people hospitalized last week with moderate to severe COVID-19, 98 percent had not received the Omicron XBB.1.5-adapted COVID-19 vaccine. Among the people hospitalized this year, 78 percent were aged 65 or older, while most of the those who were hospitalized or died have or had