Aboriginals protest use of discriminatory term by officer

The China Post news staff

Over 50 aboriginal people rallied in front of a police station in Taoyuan, in protest after a police officer yelled a discriminative term in the middle of the night over the loudspeaker yesterday. Officer Pan You-wei (潘宥瑋) broadcasted the term “Si-huan-a” in Hokkien (死番仔 or damn barbarians) via the loudspeaker on his vehicle at the Yuihsin neighborhood after an encounter with a would-be drunken driver — an aboriginal man surnamed Lee.

Lee was caught by Pan after a car chase that ensued after Lee did not stop for a roadblock set up by Pan and his colleagues. After admitting to have had a cup or two earlier, Lee asked the police for permission to drink water before the breathalyzer test but was refused. The man, however, was let go after the test showed his BAC (blood alcohol concentration) level to be 0.21, which is lower than the legal limit of 0.25.

On his way back to the police station, Pan turned on the broadcast system and shouted “Si-huan-a” while driving past a bridge near the neighborhood, waking up (and angering)local residents many of which are Amis and Atayal tribe aborigines. Some were too enraged to get back to sleep and conveyed their discontent to local aboriginal councilor Hung Kuo-chih (洪國治). Hung pointed out that local aborigines have already been holding their anger over the Dasi precinct’s practice of singling them out for BAC tests. This time, however, they can no longer swallow what they saw as public humiliation of their people, Hung said. He led over 50 protestors in a sit-in protest in front of the Taoyuan County Police Bureau at 10:30 a.m., calling for the firing of the “barbarian police officer.” Deputy Commissioner Huang Tsung-jen (黃宗仁) offered his apology to the protestors. He promised to investigate the incident and punish the people responsible, promises that were promptly realized. Pan was given a major demerit and was relieved from his post as a result of the preliminary investigation completed soon after the protestors left. His two supervisors were also given a demerit and a warning respectively.