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Taiwan ups efforts to get UK fugitive

TAIPEI--The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday that it has notified all of its representative offices around the world to work with foreign governments in an effort to track down a British fugitive who fled Taiwan last August.

In a further effort to have UK national Zain Dean returned to Taiwan to serve a four-year prison term, the ministry has asked Taiwan's representative offices to stay in contact with foreign governments, ministry spokesman Steve Hsia said at news briefing.

Taiwan hopes to work with the government of any country in which Dean is found to get him sent back to Taiwan, he said in response to questions on the case.

Hsia said Taiwan's representative office in the UK has also been working closely with related British government agencies in an attempt to have Dean returned to Taiwan.

Taiwan's UK representative office said two days earlier that it had rejected conditions set forth by Dean for him to return to Taiwan to be retried for his conviction in a fatal hit-and-run case.

Shen Lyu-shun, Taiwan's representative to the UK, said the office received an email from Dean in which he said he would only be willing to return to Taiwan on four conditions.

The conditions — a retrial, having previously unreleased video evidence presented in court, having human rights observers present at the new trial and for him to be free of discrimination based on his skin color — he is of South Asian ethnicity — were flatly rejected by the office, Shen said.

Dean claimed during his trial that he was being oppressed because of his identity as a foreigner in Taiwan.

Dean, who served as CEO of UK-based NCL Media's Taiwan chapter, was convicted in July last year of the hit-and-run death of a newspaper delivery man in downtown Taipei in March 2010 while driving under the influence of alcohol.

Dean was supposed to begin serving his sentence last September, but fled the country using the passport of a British friend Aug. 14 of that year.

1 Comment
February 9, 2013    hhlau@
All parties relating to the fugitive event should be responsible for their actions

All parties, including the convicted fugitive, Taiwan judiciary, the prevalent populism, and Taiwanese media, have serious lessons to learn from this reported criminal case. First, The British national Zain Dean, the convicted fugitive, should reconsider his current decision not to return to Taiwan to face justice. It is not adequately justifiable for him to evade responsibility for his failure to confront Taiwan judiciary. His proposed premises are not rational explanations for his decision, mostly regarded as unacceptable excuses. As Mr. Shen Lyu-shun, Taiwan's representative to the UK, said, Mr. Dean ‘can file an extraordinary appeal or petition for a retrial in accordance with Taiwan's laws’, on the condition that he bravely returns to Taiwan’. On the other hand, Taiwan judiciary should also have lessons to learn from this escapee case. In particular, are prosecutors and judges here always held accountable for every decision they make when exercising their discretion? Unfortunately, no one can guarantee his/her answer. There have indeed been occasional legal abuses resulting from dubious idiosyncratic actions of a few irresponsible prosecutors or judges, weakening the credibility of the whole legal system. Third, the prevalent populism here sometimes prevents the authorities concerned to make their final decisions based on their professional judgment. This phenomenon, appearing to have permeated every level of the society, cripples reasonable thinking, often inciting people to sentimental reactions. Last but not least, the overzealousness from Taiwanese media, increasingly objectionable in numerous aspects in our daily life, tends to affect all parties involved. As a consequence, an already complicated event often becomes too entangled to be solved sensibly and wisely. Therefore, who should take responsibility in this fugitive event? The whole scenario seems to involve more intricate factors than what is superficially conceived.
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