Taipei, May 3 (CNA) All six defendants in a case that involved an alleged sex orgy on a moving train pleaded not guilty in the first hearing at the Banciao District Court on Thursday.
Tsai Yu-lin, the alleged ringleader, was charged with offenses against sexual morality, on grounds that he induced a female to participate in a for-profit sex party.
Three other men, who allegedly served as lookouts, and two women said to be waitresses were charged as accomplices.
Prosecutors are seeking a six-month prison sentence for Tsai, and two-month sentences for the other five defendants.
Tsai showed up in court wearing a white shirt, black blazer, and jeans, while the other defendants wore face masks and some wore wigs.
The six defendants asked the judge to allow closed-door proceedings, citing the sensitivity of the issue. But the court said closed-door sessions will be held only when the minor involved in the case is testifying.
Tsai was accused of holding an orgy for profit, based on prosecutors' evidence that there was a money surplus after the party and the funds were not returned to the participants.
But Tsai said in court he never intended to profit from the party. He said he had planned to return the surplus fees to the participants but later felt it was too much trouble and he therefore treated everyone to dinner instead.
The other defendants also pleaded not guilty.
One of the waitresses said she thought nothing of the dinner treat at the time and had accepted because she saw it as a nice gesture.
The court said it will continue the case on a date yet to be decided.
The controversial party took place on the Chukuang Express between Taipei and Hsinchu on Feb 19. Besides the organizer and five helpers on the train, 18 men allegedly participated in the sex orgy with a 17-year-old female school dropout.
No charges were brought against the 18 men who allegedly paid NT$800 (US$27) each to join the party. Prosecutors said there was no evidence to show that the 18 men had prior knowledge that one of the females involved was a minor.
(By Li Hsiang-chun and Ann Chen)