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April 30, 2017

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Leak of Cheng's official indictment sparks concern from TSU lawmaker

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan Solidarity Union lawmaker Chou Ni-An (周倪安) said yesterday that the official written statement charging Cheng Chieh (鄭捷) with homicide has been leaked to the media, causing a serious invasion of the victims' and their families' privacy.

 On Monday, Cheng was indicted for stabbing four people to death and wounding 22 others in the Taipei Metro system.

 Chou explained that the document not only contained personal information about the victims of the gruesome stabbing spree but also information on the evidence.

 The lawmaker said that the media had disclosed the entire content of the indictment and published images of the deceased victims, causing even more grief to their families.

 The lawmaker added that she will propose an amendment to the Crime Victim Protection Act (犯罪被害人保護法), explaining that the current regulations only stipulate that the media should "exercise discretion" when it comes to the privacy of crime victims.

 Aletheia University law professor Wu Ching-pey (吳景欽) said that the Crime Victim Protection Act is more symbolic than substantive, given that, according to relevant articles, the media is not subject to legal penalty for disclosing such information.

 Meanwhile, a Ministry of Justice official told reporters that her ministry will look into the inadequacies of the act. The official also said that her ministry will ask prosecutors' offices to adhere to the relevant guidelines when confronting the media, and it will look into whether or not the New Taipei Prosecutors Office had been negligent.

Safety Concerns

 Lu Chiou-yuan (呂秋遠), a lawyer and frequent guest on political talk shows, said that if he were Cheng's legal representative, he would not request that his client be released on bail, considering that Cheng's life might be under serious threat if he were to be released.

 For example, when a drug dealer names his suppliers, he immediately faces the likelihood of retribution, Lu said, adding that if the defendant is not detained, there is a good chance that he will be murdered.

 The stabbing spree took place on an MRT train headed for Jiangzicui Station (江子翠站) in New Taipei City limits from Longshan Temple Station (龍山寺站) in Taipei City limits on the afternoon of May 21. According to local reports, Cheng purposely chose to begin the attack between the two stations, given that the time it takes to travel between the two is longer than other sections. The assailant was arrested at Jiangzicui Station and reportedly said afterward that he looks forward to receiving the death penalty.

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