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September 26, 2017

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Court rejects 4th attempt to detain Chang Teh-cheng

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Taipei District Court (TDC) once again ordered that truck driver Chang Teh-cheng (張德正) be released on bail, this time at NT$300,000, after a wild drive through the gates of the Presidential Office.

After the TDC ruled for Chang to be released on bail of NT$150,000 on Friday and confined to his residence in Taipei, the Taiwan High Court rejected the decision on Friday night.

The gravel truck driver on Saturday drove a load of rubble — originally meant for a construction site in Keelung — into the Presidential Office, injuring only himself.

Before undertaking his plan, Chang had written a letter to a local TV station indicating that he was ready for any consequence following his actions, calling for the death sentence if he caused any deaths and a life sentence if there were none.

Chang's lawyer, surnamed Yu, stressed that it would be impossible for Chang to commit similar crimes ever again. The injured driver was remanded to the custody of three lawyers on Thursday and was released without bail; the prosecution filed an appeal for Chang to be detained three times, and three times the request was rejected.

Yu accused the Taiwan High Court of ignoring Chang's fragile physical condition, believing only the prosecution's reports and disregarding the fact that he was sent to and from the court numerous times via an ambulance. "If Chang is sent to the detention center now, it would be risking his very life as the centers are not equipped with ample medical resources," said Yu. "I feel sending Chang to detention would be going against the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as it would constitute inhumane treatment."

The Taipei District Prosecutors' Office filed an appeal early on Thursday morning after the court ordered Chang's release for the first time on Wednesday night; the High Court simply sent the request for detention to the TDC without a ruling. The TDC then decided against the need to detain Chang as it would be highly unlikely for him to attempt an escape.

The prosecution will be filing for another appeal due to the belief that Chang, despite his injuries, is still capable of causing harm of a similar degree.

This is the first case in which a defendant has been brought to court four times just to determine whether he should be detained.

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