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June 24, 2017

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MOJ lauds UK ruling over Dean extradition

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) yesterday welcomed a British court's ruling to extradite fugitive Zain Dean — the British businessman who fled Taiwan to avoid his prison term for a hit-and-run death in Taipei — back to Taiwan.

The MOJ said a court in Edinburgh yesterday made the ruling regarding Dean's extradition, noting that this ruling sets a historical precedent as the first extradition between Taiwan and the UK.

Deputy Minister of Justice Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂) said the extradition ruling manifests the essence of justice. Chen went on to say that he appreciates the efforts made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Taiwan's representative office in the UK, the MOJ's Department of International and Cross-Strait Legal Affairs and Scottish prosecutors over the case.

Dean Can Still Appeal

The deputy minister said, however, as Dean can file an appeal against the ruling, it is hard to predict an exact date and time for Dean's extradition. Chen said Taiwan will protect Dean's rights and interests when he is returned to the nation to serve his term.

The High Court of Justice in London earlier in May ruled in favor of the family of Huang Chun-te (黃俊德) — the victim of Dean's fatal hit-and-run case — in a lawsuit against Dean in which the court recognized a ruling issued in Taiwan that said Dean must compensate the victim's family with NT$7.55 million.

According to the Central News Agency (CNA), the British High Court ruled that Dean must pay NT$9.08 million, including the NT$7.55 million plus interest for four years of arrears.

MOFA last night echoed the MOJ's remarks, saying that following the UK's recognition of Taiwan's civil lawsuit ruling in May, the extradition ruling the UK made yesterday has set a positive example for judicial mutual assistance between the UK and Taiwan in the future.

The Taipei District Prosecutors' Office last night said that once Dean is extradited to Taiwan in the near future, Taipei prosecutors will immediately arrest him and escort him to prison.

Huang's brother-in-law was quoted by CNA as saying that he appreciates the UK's judicial system for standing on the side of the victim.

In 2012 Dean was convicted of hitting and killing Huang, a 31-year-old newspaper deliveryman, while driving under the influence of alcohol in March 2010. The Taiwan High Court sentenced Dean to four years in prison.

Shortly before Dean, an ethnic Indian, was supposed to begin serving his term, he fled Taiwan in August 2012 by using the passport of his friend, Christopher David Churcher, a British expatriate and Dean's former employee. Churcher is a Caucasian man of different height and about 10 years younger than Dean.

Dean's Taiwanese girlfriend Tung Yu-chi (董玉琪) allegedly helped him escape the country by putting make-up on Dean's face to lighten his skin color.

After leaving Taiwan for over a year, Scottish police arrested Dean in Edinburgh in October 2013 and he has been held in custody since. Taiwan at the same time has been trying to extradite Dean back to the country to serve his prison term. Taiwan signed a memorandum of understanding with the UK in October 2013 specifically to pave the way for Dean's extradition.

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