activists condemn police brutality
By Loa Iok-sin / Staff reporter
Lawmakers and rights activists yesterday accused the police of brutality for
using handcuffs when arresting peaceful demonstrators in Yuanli Township (苑裡),
Miaoli County, earlier this week, actions that Minister of the Interior Lee
Hong-yuan (李鴻源) said were “unacceptable.”
“I was shocked when I saw what happened to the protesters,” Democratic
Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) told a press conference at
the legislature in Taipei after watching a video clip of student protesters and
local residents in a demonstration against a wind turbine project on Sunday.
Staging a sit-in demonstration with no apparent acts of violence at the wind
turbine construction site in Yuanli, several demonstrators were struck by police
officers using batons and then handcuffed.
While supporting green energy, residents are worried about that the proximity of
the turbines to their houses.
“What police did to the protesters shows that human rights conditions may be
worse now than during the Martial Law era,” Tuan said. “I was active during
social movements when I was a student during the Martial Law era and I was
arrested several times, but I was never handcuffed.”
Lai Chung-chiang (賴中強), an executive member of the Taiwan Association for Human
Rights and a lawyer, said that according to the law, handcuffs can only be used
when a suspect is resisting arrest or attempting to escape.
Based on this, “police officers have apparently abused their power,” Lai said.
Facing criticism, Miaoli County Police Department Chief Secretary Kao Chih-liang
(高誌良) said the protesters who were on the construction site were trespassing,
“so we were arresting them in flagrante delicto.”
Although the Police Duties Enforcement Act (警察職權行使法) stipulates that police
officers on duty should follow the law with regards to an assembly, Kao said
that officers were acting in accordance with the Criminal Code (刑法), not the
Police Duties Enforcement Act or the Assembly and Parade Act (集會遊行法).
During an Internal Administration Committee meeting at the legislature, Lee said
after viewing the video clip that he could not accept how the protesters were
Several other lawmakers across party lines also condemned the way the police had
“These people are very clearly staging a demonstration, how is it not a
demonstration? This is not only damaging the rights of the protesters, but also
the image of the police force,” DPP Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) said.
“I can’t believe this has happened on the territory of the Republic of China,”
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiu Wen-yen (邱文彥) said.
“It’s only some unarmed people holding hands together in a sit-in protest, they
are not posing a threat to anybody, they didn’t deserve to be treated like
this,” Chiu said.
Calling the behavior of the police officers “unacceptable,” Lee promised to
investigate and deliver a full report to the legislature in two days.