Crime Waves: Slaves, knaves, graves and haze


That title wasn’t meant to be flippant. It’s been a busy week in crime news, especially during “ghost month” where many Taiwanese people are very superstitious.

In followup to the recent murder of a Vietnamese man by Taiwan police, combined with numerous news reports of slave labour by unscrupulous businesses, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) is taking a more humane (but long overdue) approach and treating people who run from jobs as possible victims, not criminals.

NIA re-designates runaway migrant workers as “unaccounted for”

National Immigration Agency (NIA) Director-General Jeff J. Yang (楊家駿) announced Tuesday that in future whenever foreign workers’ whereabouts are unknown after leaving their official place of employment, his agency will no longer refer to them as “illegal runaways” but rather classify them as “unaccounted for.”

[…]

Foreign workers often feel compelled to leave their jobs in Taiwan for reasons beyond their control, but despite that are often characterized as suspects or criminals, which Yang said was unhelpful and would henceforth be replaced by the designation “unaccounted for.”

One main reason for leaving is the mistreatment of workers, from abuse to extortion to slave labour. In the case from Kaohsiung, the government surprised me with their actions: confiscating money from the people’s captors and giving it to the victims as back wages.

Fishermen ‘kept like slaves’ in Taiwan

A group of foreign fishermen in Taiwan were locked in tiny windowless rooms around the clock to stop them escaping while not at sea, prosecutors said in the island’s latest abuse case involving migrant workers.

Fishing and boat company owners were among 19 people charged Monday in the southern city of Kaohsiung for illegally holding 81 foreign fishermen in buildings after they had berthed their boats.

[…]

Prosecutors also confiscated nearly Tw$3.69 million ($123,000) from the companies in back pay for the workers.

The case came to light last year after a fisherman tipped off prosecutors with the help of a social worker, the statement said.

In other recent news, a hazing incident involving sexual harassment at a Taiwan university is cause for corcern. There aren’t many stories about hazing that make the news here, but the ones I’ve heard involve christian schools. Is that selective reporting, or a sign of a specific problem?

Details of Freshmen Hazing Activities Posted Online

An instructor at Chung Yuan Christian University (中原大學) in Taoyuan is being criticized for his involvement in freshmen hazing activities, details of which were posted on Dcard.

The student who posted details of the hazing during the freshmen outing said he was embarrassed and didn’t want to participate in the games but was pressured to do so.

[…]

The instructor, who was not named in the UDN article or Dcard post, reportedly said that male students who were embarrassed or offended by the activities during the freshmen outing were “too conservative.”

Guns are illegal for anyone not the police or military, but that doesn’t stop criminals from getting them. On the other hand, there’s no “good guy with a gun” fiction, and the police can immediately tell who the criminals are.

Three Injured, 1 Dead in New Taipei City Gangland Shooting

Five people were shot during temple celebrations in New Taipei City’s Tucheng District today and at least one is dead.

One of the victims is a gang boss named Lin Li-chang (林立昌) who belongs to the Heavenly Way Alliance. At the time of writing Lin is in a critical condition after being shot 6 times. Lin was not breathing and had no heartbeat when brought to the hospital, but was revived and is currently undergoing emergency surgery.

[…]

Shortly before 1:30pm, Lin and temple volunteers were partaking in a ceremony where they distributed rice to the poor, when a gunman suddenly drew a pistol and began firing at Lin. The gunman shouted “Finally, I take revenge for the boss.”

Police suspect that the shooting is related to the assassination of gang boss Huang Yilun (黃義倫) who was murdered in Tucheng as he sat in his Porsche SUV in June this year.

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