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September 20, 2017

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Court cuts sentence for man in fatal child abuse

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Taiwan High Court yesterday sentenced Liu Chin-lung (劉金龍) to 30 years in prison for abusing a 2-year-old boy to death.

In June 2012, the Taipei District Court sentenced Liu to death.

Liu, who has previously been convicted for drug-related offenses, allegedly took the boy away from his girlfriend's apartment and left the boy, who was born to his girlfriend, with three men from Oct. 11 to Nov. 1 in 2011. During that time, Liu and the three others allegedly abused the child physically. According to the first ruling, they forced the boy to drink alcohol to stop him from screaming and crying.

Liu and the three other men gave the boy amphetamines and heroin, which led the boy fell into coma. Doctors later found traces of drugs in his body.

The Taiwan High Court said that after the boy fell into a coma, Liu asked the three other men to organize for the boy to be sent to hospital — a fact which, the court said, showed that Liu retained some degree of morality. During yesterday's trial, Liu bowed to the victim's aunt as a demonstration of remorse, the Taiwan High Court said.

According to the ruling, there was no evidence to prove that Liu and the three others had intention to kill the boy. In light of this, the Taiwan High Court charged him for causing death due to injuries and changed the sentence from death to 30 years in prison.

Wang Wei-chun (王薇君), the victim's aunt, stressed after the trial that she will not accept the judgment and will appeal the ruling. She said that killing through abuse is crueler than murder by knife.

A revision to the Protection of Children and Youths Welfare and Rights Act was made after the incident. The amendment requires that judicial police, prosecutors and judges actively investigate the living conditions of the children of parents or custodians wanted, detained or imprisoned for drug-related offenses.

The revision requires that if the children in question are found to be being abused or not receiving proper care, then law enforcement should report the matter to the local government's social welfare department.

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