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June 28, 2017

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No double standards for students: justice minister

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Justice Minister Luo Ying-shay (羅瑩雪) said yesterday during a visit to the New Taipei District Prosecutors Office that a rioter is not defined by his or her identity but by what he or she has done, noting that the law will not differentiate between students and the rest of the populace.

Luo visited the prosecutor's office yesterday morning and gave an address. She first defended the nation's judiciary system by saying that the public magnifies the system's minor flaws yet reluctantly gives praise when the judiciary system justly deals with major crimes.

Luo went on to comment on the incident of March 23 at the Executive Yuan, saying that those students had no idea what they were doing. She said that the students think they have "great power" in their hands, and that kind of idea is very dangerous.

Noting that the Prosecutors Association on April 2 expressed its position very clearly, Luo said the prosecutors will not close their eyes to the students' illegal behavior.

There are no double standards for students in terms of breaking the law, the minister said, noting that whether students or gangsters, the nation will levy punishments on all those who violate the law.

The minister went on to say that she thinks the public does not really understand the essence of law and order, noting that as the minister of justice, she is obliged to "teach" and explain the relevant legal consequences to the public.

Luo further noted that as far as she knows, the Taipei prosecutors have been investigating the student movement since it began.

At the moment prosecutors appear to be focusing their investigation on the students of the March 23 Executive Yuan incident rather than the students occupying the Legislative Yuan. Luo said she did not ask for too many details regarding the investigation.

When asked if prosecutors will investigate the students occupying the Legislative Yuan once the Assembly Hall is cleared, Luo said "I don't think it (investigation) needs to wait until the movement is over, because prosecutors are already on the case."

The Association of National Universities of Taiwan yesterday released a press statement, saying that the association hopes the executive branch can adopt a more tolerant attitude toward the students.

The press statement was endorsed by the presidents of five national universities, namely National Sun Yat-sen University, National Taiwan University, National Chiao Tung University, National Chung Hsing University and National Cheng Kung University.

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