Ex-president to remain in hospital: justice ministry


TAIPEI, Taiwan — Imprisoned former President Chen Shui-bian, who has been hospitalized since Sept. 21, 2012, will remain in Taipei General Veterans Hospital for the time being, the Ministry of Justice said Wednesday.

Following discussions between the Agency of Corrections and Taipei Prison, it was decided that Chen should remain in hospital where he is being treated for severe depression and other health problems, said Vice Justice Minister Chen Ming-tang.

The question of whether the former president would return to Taipei Prison before the Lunar New Year holiday on Feb. 10 is under consideration, the vice minister said in response to reporters’ questions.

“We have no timeframe” for his discharge from hospital, Chen Ming-tang said, adding that it depends on the professional assessment of the hospital.

In a report to the ministry’s Agency of Corrections last month, the hospital said the former president was showing improvement in terms of his severe depression.

However, there are some lingering symptoms and he should continue to take medication, receive occupational therapy and be given proper resettlement help when he is discharged, the hospital advised.

The report suggested that Chen first be transferred from the hospital’s psychiatric ward to a chronic disease ward.

The Agency of Corrections estimated that Chen Shui-bian and 60,000 other prisoners will be covered under the new health insurance system that will be implemented this year.

Based on an estimated NT$1,684 per month in premium payments for each inmate, the ministry will have to budget around NT$1.2 billion per year for that purpose.