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July 25, 2017

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Foreign hit-and-run suspect banned from leaving nation

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A judge yesterday restricted a foreign defendant in a fatal hit-and-run case from leaving Taiwan at a court hearing in Taipei, local media reported.

Judge Yeh Li-chi considered detaining the defendant, Zain Taj Dean, due to the possibility of him fleeing the country as there were suspicions that the British national might have more than two passports. The defendant was released on bail because the court has found him compliant with its order to appear for the trial, NOWnews reported.

The Taipei District Prosecutors Office charged the defendant for negligence causing death and pressed for a relatively heavy two-and-a-half year imprisonment sentence against him, citing his apparent lack of remorse.

The family of the victim in the accident, worried about Dean escaping the country, said they could not accept Yeh's ruling.

The defendant insisted on his innocence in court. His lawyer denied the Brit had another passport and accused the police for passing inaccurate information to certain media outlets.

The defendant, CEO of NCL Media Taiwan, allegedly fled after fatally hitting newspaper deliverer Huang Chun-te at Zhongxiao East Road in March while driving under influence of alcohol.

 The defendant claimed a valet was driving his car while the accident took place and that he was asleep in the passenger seat due to his intoxication. The valet, however, proved he got out of the defendant's car before the accident, prosecutors said.

The defendant allegedly asked his girlfriend to sell his car the next day. When police found him, he had already purchased a plane ticket, according to Apple Daily.

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