Miaoli magistrate presses charges over thrown shoe

By Lauly Li ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Miaoli Magistrate Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻) yesterday pressed charges against Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷), a National Tsing Hua University student, for throwing a shoe that hit Liu in September. The event is connected to the Miaoli County Dapu Village disputes. Chang Sen-wen (張森文), one of the owners of the four demolished households in the village, was found dead under Dapu Bridge on the afternoon of Sept. 18.

Later that night Liu went to Chang’s former residence to offer his condolences to the family. At the time, Chen was at the residence. Chen scolded Liu and threw a shoe at the magistrate which hit him in the head. The shoe that Chen threw at Liu was later displayed in a cafe owned by one of the protesters against the magistrate. Liu yesterday told media that Chen’s assault showed that he has no regard for the law, noting that if on-duty officials can be “randomly assaulted” by people under the duress of such emotions, then the government would face difficulties in carrying out its administrative work. Liu said that personally he does not have issue with being assaulted or insulted by people, however the dignity and the safety of officials must be upheld.

The magistrate noted that he first thought the shoe thrower was a member of the victim’s family. He understood the family’s distress, so he did not comment on the issue on the day of the incident. Liu said he was informed that Chen had stated on his social network page the next day that it was he who threw the shoe. After a thorough discussion with staff, Liu decided to press charges against Chen. Chen on Sept. 19 told local media that he threw the shoe. On the same day, when Liu was asked by a reporter whether he would press charges against Chen, Liu said he regretted the outcome but would not get the court involved. Chen yesterday said on his social network page that he recently received a notice from the Miaoli Police Department to attend a questioning session over allegations of obstructing a government operation and publicly insulting an official.

Chen noted that Liu had previously said he would not press charges but is now doing so. Chen said Liu forced his way into Chang’s previous residence against the family’s wishes, showing that Liu had no respect for the family. National Tsing Hua University yesterday said Chen is an adult and is responsible for his actions should he have violated any regulations. The university said it would not punish Chen for the incident.