每日跟讀#637: Angry crowd runs amok in Taichung
On June 21, a one-year-old infant from Taichung was allegedly physically abused while in the care of a babysitter, a 24-year-old resident of the city, surnamed Kuo. The baby’s injuries were so severe that she fell into a coma and the infant is currently receiving emergency treatment at China Medical University Hospital. According to medical staff, the child has already undergone surgery to remove a blood clot, and remains in intensive care and under close observation.
At around 9pm on June 24, three days after the baby was admitted to hospital, a man named Liu Kuan-ting, the administrator of a citizens’ action Facebook group, started filming a live stream and called on fellow Taichung residents to convene outside the rented apartment occupied by Kuo on Taiping Hansi East Road to “obtain justice.”
By 11pm that evening, a crowd of 300 angry locals had amassed outside the entrance to the apartment block and were yelling for the babysitter to come outside. Meanwhile, 180 riot police arrived at the address and sealed off the road. The crowd began to push and shove against police officers and some tried to force their way into the building, while others lobbed eggs at the entrance. Police officers were seen intervening to prevent more egg throwing by two individuals.
Chief Detective Chen Chun-yen was dispatched to the scene several times by Taiping Precinct Police Chief Chang Tse-cheng to calm the crowd. Chen explained that evidence had already been gathered, statements obtained and the case was now in the hands of prosecutors for review. However, Chen’s attempts to reason with the crowd fell on deaf ears and they began shouting again: “Arrest her! Lock her up!” A section of the crowd then peeled off and headed for Taichung District Prosecutors’ Office to stage a separate protest.
The baby’s mother addressed the crowd, thanking them for their support and sympathy, but appealed for calm and stressed that all she wanted to do was to stay by her daughter’s side. “I really wish this were just a terrible dream, I wish it were me lying on that bed in intensive care.” She added: “I hope the babysitter will tell the truth and justice can be done.”
Around midnight, several more clashes between the crowd and police occurred, with people hurling more eggs, in addition to ghost money, at the apartment block. Police officers used pepper spray to control the crowd and, during the ensuing scuffles, several officers were pelted with eggs.
By 1am, 40 police officers in full riot gear arrived on the scene. The precinct’s deputy chief held up a sign ordering the crowd to disperse and then riot police moved in, using force to bring the situation under control, dragging away six individuals. At this point, the crowd finally began to disperse. The instigator of the flash mob, Liu, was arrested by police for breaking the Social Order Maintenance Act. The police have said any other members of the crowd deemed to have broken the law will be arrested under the act or the Criminal Code.
Liu later issued a statement saying he will pay a fine, but insisted his actions were not an appeal for mob justice, rather his intention was to shed light on an important issue.
Source article: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2019/07/02/2003717931/2