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No law bans criminal suspects from driving passenger vehicles: MOTC

2016/07/30 18:44:06

Taipei, July 30 (CNA) No current law bans criminal suspects or people with criminal records from serving as a passenger vehicle driver, the Directorate General of Highways under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) said Saturday.

But the highway authority promised to look into the possibility of proposing an amendment to relevant laws after the media reported that a tour bus fire that killed all 26 people on board, including 24 from mainland China, could have been an act of suicide by the driver, who had been convicted of sexual assault just weeks before the July 19 accident.

The Tourism Bureau said tourist agencies, which do not have a right to check a bus driver's background, would not be legal jeopardy as long as they use certified bus service providers.

Transportation officials said they cannot seek to prevent people with criminal records from working in the tourism industry as the Constitution protects the right to employment of all people.

According to Apple Daily, 53-year-old Su Ming-cheng (蘇明成) was sentenced to five years in prison by the Taiwan High Court on June 24 for sexually assaulting a female tour guide while they were leading a tour group to Hualien on Oct. 11, 2013.

Su had taken leave of absence one week before the verdict and only returned to work on July 12, raising suspicion that he started the fire on purpose to kill himself out of spite over his conviction, the paper said.

Prosecutors would not comment on or confirm the report. They did, however, disclose the results of an autopsy that showed high levels of alcohol in Su's blood, urine and stomach, indicating that he was highly intoxicated at the time of the accident.

Investigators have also found five plastic containers on the bus that tested positive for gasoline.

Su's family members would not respond to media queries about his sexual assault case when they took his ashes to a columbarium in Gangshan, Kaohsiung, Saturday.

(By Chen Wei-ting, Wang Shu-fen, Y.F. Low and S.C. Chang)