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September 24, 2017

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Death of toddler spurs talk of reform to Child and Youth Welfare Act

Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Wang Yo-min held a press conference on Wednesday in response to a lethal child abuse incident that occurred in October. A drug dealer was sentenced to death on Wednesday after he was convicted of homicide caused by malicious child abuse. Prosecutors pressed charges against Liu Jing-long and three of his allies last October after a 2-year-old named Wang Hao died in the hospital from a heroin overdose.

According to prosecutors, Liu feared his girlfriend's toddler, Wang-hao, would attract police attention to his drug dealing activities. He then decided to send the toddler to three drug addicts named Cheng Cheng-feng, Hsu Kuan-hsiung, and Zhou Jian-hui to baby-sit in exchange for drugs. The three addicts then allegedly abused the toddler with plyers and nails, poisoning him with alcohol and injections of heroin, prosecutors said.

Chief Presiding Judge Sun Cheng-hua described their actions as "inhuman and vicious," and said that during the trial, the four defendants repeatedly denied responsibility for the child's death, and begged the judge to reduce their sentence. The judge added with a heavy heart that the law was overprotecting the defendant's rights, allowing them to abuse it.

Legislator Wang held a press conference on Wednesday with the toddler's aunt, Wang Wei-chun, in response to the incident, calling attention to the Legislative Yuan to make amendments to the Child and Youth Welfare Act. She stated that the protection of our children has no difference in political parties. The proposed amendment would require prosecutors and judges to ascertain the children's living conditions in the homes of guardians who have been charged with drug abuses.

The Good Shepherd Foundation (善牧基金會) — a foundation that focuses on treatment for abused children, reported there were roughly 800 victims of child abuse in the Taipei area every year. They called on the government to provide human support and provision for children under stress and threat from their guardians on Wednesday. In reports they conducted in the past, children were usually afraid to speak up for fear of more abusive behavior from their parents or homicidal threats, while some children were afraid their words could overrule a judge's ruling.

KMT Legislator Wang mentioned that the proposed amendment would lead the government to take a more active stance from the government rather than passively wait for suspects to be reported.

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