Odds And Ends: How life is different here

Some of the differences in local policing and traffic.  Note that any empathy for cops not causing problems does not equate to “support” for violent policing:

Suspect shot and wounded after ramming police car

A wanted man driving a stolen car suffered a bullet wound to the head after a police detective fired three shots at his vehicle when he rammed their unmarked police car in Chiayi County last night, August 21.

[. . .]

The suspect refused [to exit the vehicle], and rammed the police car. The squad leader, named Lee, in order to protect the safety of personnel and police equipment, fired three shots at the suspect vehicle: one at the left-front tire, one at the left-side door, and one at the window, according to China Times.

Emphasis mine.  The first shot was to disable the vehicle, the second a warning shot to demonstrate intent.  Only a third was fired to injure when the driver did not comply, not ten or twenty shots from multiple cops.  Wouldn’t it be nice if that sort of escalation of force were the norm instead of seeing situations like this as opportunity to kill with impunity?

More below the fold…

A 21 year old cop died a few weeks ago after a collision.  An unlicensed teenager ran a red light in the middle of the night, hitting the cop broadside. Unfortunately, this sort of riding is typical amongst scooter owners.  It’s one of the reasons I refuse to drive one and stick to taxis and public transit.  As I heard it jokingly said, “Don’t drive yourself, leave it to the amateurs.”

21-year-old police officer critically injured after collision with unlicensed teen scooter rider

The family of a police officer who was critically injured in a high speed collision while responding to an emergency call has agreed to donate his organs and corneas, after doctors declared the patient to have suffered brain death.

The 21-year-old police officer, Yang Ting-hao, and two other officers, were riding police scooters with sirens and lights on when a 17-year-old male, also on a scooter, slammed into Yang at high speed at the intersection of Da’an Road and Junying Street in Shulin District, New Taipei City, shortly after midnight yesterday, August 2.

Two truck drivers had different outcomes after recent accidents.  The driver of a gravel truck emerged unhurt after the broken wheel of another vehicle destroyed the cab of his truck.  A cement truck driver didn’t do as well after his vehicle crashed off an overpass and fell twenty metres.  The weight and his speed on the overpass’s curve caused the truck to flip over and fall.  Similar accidents of vehicles falling off overpasses are a semi-annual thing (a driver who amazingly survived, another who didn’t, a drunk driver two years ago whose SUV crushed on impact, etc.).

Violent crime here seems to be getting more and more bizarre as time passes – not the amount of it, which is always low, but the strangeness of the acts, like they’re trying to one-up each other.  A man suspected of being on amphetamines stabbed someone and was later arrested, but not until after he did a parkour climb up fourteen stories of a building, finally arrested safely on the ledge.  And yet a man who murdered his mother in a gruesome fashion walked free “because he was affected by drugs”.  If he was willing to use amphetamines, shouldn’t he be in prison anyway?  Drugs are still illegal here (as is the “death penalty” for selling and distributing).

Speaking of the drug trade, one would think COVID-19 and the cease of travel would slow it down, but the reverse seems to be true.  Thankfully (if the local rumour mill is to be believed) marijuana has doubled in street prices because of a shortage.  It’s nice not to smell that garbage anymore.  One of my neighbors is an occasional user and it wafts into my apartment.  I don’t use and don’t want to end up with a positive test (don’t ask why I haven’t moved).

Virus Outbreak: Asia drug trade thriving

Illicit drug markets in the Asia-Pacific region continue to expand and diversify, and appear to be largely unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN said yesterday.

The production of methamphetamine, the most popular drug in the region, continues to hit record highs, while prices fall to new lows in East and Southeast Asia, as well as Australia and New Zealand, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a report that compiled data from last year to the first quarter of this year.

“It is hard to imagine that organized crime have again managed to expand the drug market, but they have,” UNODC representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific Jeremy Douglas said. “While the world has shifted its attention to the COVID-19 pandemic, all indications are that production and trafficking of synthetic drugs and chemicals continue at record levels in the region.”

UNODC illicit drugs analyst Inshik Sim said that intelligence suggested that there had been no change in the street price of methamphetamine in Bangkok or Manila, the biggest markets for the substance in Southeast Asia.

I have to wonder of the absence of airline passengers has emboldened individuals to take advantage of their access and lack of eyes watching.  Airlines have been filling passenger compartments with cargo to make up for lost revenue.