Thieves target buried Morakot village: report

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Siaolin village, now meters underground after it became ground zero for the devastation wreaked by Typhoon Morakot in August 2009, was recently ransacked by plunderers using excavation equipment, a report said. Survivors claimed the thefts had taken place in a report in the United Daily News. Pang Lung-ching (transliterated from 邦龍景) lost 13 members of his family in the floods brought by Morakot’s record-breaking rainfall that caused mudslides to bury the village entirely, along with 491 villagers.

Since that tragic summer, Pang would visit the site in the mountainous region once every few weeks to pay homage to his family. On Sunday, Oct. 17, Pang set off to Siaolin again. However, instead of the usual desolate field scattered with rooftops sticking out from the dried mud that devoured the houses, Pang found a hole in the ground with human bones littered around it. “Beside the hole that dug through my house’s roof, I found the license plate of my father’s car, my mother’s identity card, health insurance card and some of her clothes,” the United Daily News quoted Pang as saying. What was missing was the gold he bought his mother and the steel bars from the house. “Our suspicion is that thieves have been digging around in Siaolin, or else how can one explain the remains of the victims emerging from the ground?” Pang said.

Pang said the remains he found were probably not of his parents. Both of his parents were white-haired but the remains he found had some white and black hairs. Police officers from the Chishan precinct believe the bones belong to Morakot flood victims. Tsai Sung-yu (蔡松諭), head of the Siaolin survivor self-help association, said that Pang’s case was not an isolated incident. He believed plunderers used excavators to dig for valuables at the site. He called on the government to enforce security patrols in the area to prevent similar desecrations of the victims’ remains.