Crime Waves: Say hi, with both hands raised

For the most part, Taiwan is a safe country to live in. Petty crime isn’t a major problem, and while public sexual harassment of women exists, the government cracks down and prosecutes.

(Nearly all of the anti-foreigner animosity and aggression I have experienced here and elsewhere in Asian countries has been anti-american sentiment. Oh, désolé, mon ami! Y a-t-il quelque chose qui ne va pas? One of the first things I learnt while abroad was how quickly “she doesn’t speak English” changes people’s attitudes. It’s easy and inoffensive self-defence. My knowledge of French is déplorable, but most of them don’t know that. ^_^)

Violent crime in Taiwan seems to happen in bursts, like earthquakes and tremors. There’s nothing for a while, then a lot all at once. The past month has been one after another. A similar wave of violence happened last January.

Trigger Warning: violent crimes described. DEFINITELY a TW here.

Kaohsiung (May 20): 54 year old man beheads 52 year old mentally disabled sister.

Taichung (June 3): Man kills his older brother, incinerates his face and hands. The victim was involved in gambling, the suspect involved in fraud-related crimes.

Taipei (June 6): In two separate incidents, police shot multiple bullets into the cars of driver who attempted to run road blocks. No injuries to the drivers were reported. Both were later charged in relation to other separate crimes.  This happened only a few kilometres from where I live, but I was at work when it happened, far from the highway.

Taipei (June 13): 45 year old mercedes driver stabs three in road rage attack, including the 61 year old driver of another vehicle.

Taipei (June 18): Mercedes driver commits hit and run murder of motorist on scooter. The scooter rider’s leg was torn off, found later on the car after the mercedes driver was caught.

Road rage is a regular event here in Taiwan, and I’ve experienced some myself as a pedestrian.  On May 10, a 25 year old beat up a 60 year old who had properly stopped at a red light. The elder man’s presence prevented the younger man from running a red light, which the younger felt “justified” attacking the elder man.  But why worry about committing road rage when you only get eleven years for murder (January 2017)?


Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Lexus drivers here fit all the same stereotypes about aggression and reckless driving as in every other country.  We’ve got blue truck drivers, too, plus scooter gangs in Kaohsiung.  And people still ask me why I don’t want to buy a scooter.

Taichung (June 13): A (thankfully stupid) 25 year old man posted a video to youtube of airguns he had illegally converted to being lethal weapons.  He had planned to sell them.

Kaohsiung (June 12): An organized crime member known as “Leopard” was arrested for possession of a submachine gun as well as other illegal weapons.

Chiayi (June 16): A man’s body found after ten years at the elementary school where he worked. His brother said the man was preparing to give documents relating to a school engineering project fraud to county government investigators before he went missing.

But if you want to buy your way out of a stiff sentence for crimes, you can:

Chiayi (May 28): Former Jhuci mayor’s prison sentence reduced to 15 years in prison after payment to the victim’s family (NTD$25m, US$820,000).  Now the question is where did the ex-mayor get the money?  Hmm…any relation to the school employee’s murder?

And then there’s the torrential “Plum Rains” which have hit Taiwan. I have been here eleven years, and I’ve never seen rain like this, not even during typhoons. People my age who have lived here their whole lives say the same thing. The rains will continue for another five days, making it exactly three weeks of constant rain. There have been major road closures in many places, landslides, and even flooding on one of the runways at Taoyuan International Airport.

Heavy rain warning issued for most of Taiwan

Central and northern Taiwan, as well as mountainous areas in southern Taiwan, are likely to see the worst weather conditions, with accumulated rainfall of more than 200 millimeters within 24 hours, or more than 100 millimeters over three hours, according to the warning.

And to think just a few weeks ago people were making a stink about Taiwanese citizens working for UAE airlines being forced to wear PRC lapel buttons.  Priorities, people.