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June 24, 2017

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Family-hired lawyer to investigate assets of British fugitive: MOFA

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday said that the family of a hit-and-run victim who was killed by a British citizen four years ago has hired a lawyer in the United Kingdom to investigate the assets of the UK national who was found guilty in the case.

On May 23, the High Court in London ruled that Zain Dean, a runaway Briton who was convicted in Taiwan over a fatal hit-and-run in 2010, should pay NT$9 million (US$300,000) in civil damages to the family of Huang Chun-te (黃俊德), as ordered by a Taiwanese court. Dean has not appealed the ruling.

To ensure payment of compensation to Huang's family, Perry Shen (申佩璜), head of MOFA's Department of Treaties and Legal Affairs, yesterday told local media that Huang's family has already hired a lawyer in the UK to investigate Dean's assets.

The lawyer has hired a private detective for the job.

 If the investigation finds that Dean has disposed of his assets or is financially unable to pay the money at present, the family will obtain a debt obligation from a British court that will allow seizure of Dean's assets or income in the future, he noted.

 Dean, who was head of a British company's Taiwan office, was sentenced to four years in prison in July 2012 on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, manslaughter and committing a hit-and-run offense.

 Using a friend's passport, Dean fled Taiwan the following month and later returned to the UK. He was arrested by Scottish police in October 2013 following a request from Taiwanese authorities.

 On June 11, the Edinburgh Sheriff Court ruled that Dean should be extradited to Taiwan to serve his sentence. The Scottish secretary of justice approved the extradition on Aug. 1.

 Under the law, Dean has the right to appeal the extradition ruling within 14 days or be sent back to Taiwan to serve his jail time.

Not Sure if Dean Will Appeal

Asked to comment on the latest development in the case, Foreign Minister David Lin (林永樂) yesterday said the ministry was not certain if Dean would appeal the case or not.

 "But we hope that things will ultimately turn out to be the way we want it to be," he added.

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