Chairman of institute for disabled alleged to have abused residents
By Lauly Li, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- An institute for the disabled in Miaoli County recently drew attention when its chairman, Chou Pen-chi (周本錡), was alleged to have abused residents over a significant period of time.
October 8, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
Social and Family Affairs Administration (SFAA) of the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) yesterday said it has started investigating the institution and will submit a report within a month.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chieh-ju (陳節如) and the Parents' Association for Persons with Intellectual Disability last Saturday held a press conference and played several pieces of surveillance footage recorded in the institute dating from between February to July.
The camera footage shows Chou kicking, slapping, pushing and hitting several residents with a wooden stick.
Chou later denied the accusations of abuse, saying that the videos did not tell the entire story of the incidents.
Chou said there are 37 residents in the institution, and many of them have violent tendencies. He added that he was only trying to prevent residents from physically assaulting other residents.
Chou further noted that he had tried several ways to stop them, and he said “it is the only way that works” — referring to the actions he took in the videos.
The 37 residents of the institute come from Miaoli, Taipei, New Taipei and Hsinchu, according to CNA. After the controversy was exposed over the weekend, social workers from the cities visited the institution.
Hsinchu City Government yesterday transferred four residents to other institutions for the disabled after family requests.
Li Wen-chien (李文乾), a Miaoli Department of Labor Affairs and Social Resources official, said the department has demanded the institution submit a report on the incident by this afternoon.
Minister of the MOHW Chiu Wen-ta (邱文達) said Chou's behavior was “very inappropriate,” noting that it has formed a task force to probe the incident, and the district prosecutors' office has also kicked off its own investigation.
Control Yuan members Shen Mei-chan (沈美真) and Huang Wu-Tsu (黃武次) yesterday said they will look into the incident to see if authorities have satisfactorily supervised the institution.
Shen said government authorities had given the institution a low-performance rating twice in three years, noting however that it still obtained government subsidies.
The institution yesterday afternoon released a press statement saying that it regrets creating issues through improper discipline, noting that it will not avoid bearing legal responsibilities should it be found to have violated any regulations.