Taipei, Aug. 20 (CNA) A Taoyuan couple was charged Tuesday with offenses against personal freedom, on allegations that they had kept their teenage daughter confined to their home for three years.
The young woman, now 18, was held in confinement at the residence of her mother and stepfather in Yangmei District, Taoyuan City, from Sept. 1, 2015 to Oct. 25, 2018, according to the indictment released by Taoyuan District Prosecutors' Office.
The teenager was living in a self-contained apartment on the second floor of the residence, where the doors to the first and third floors were locked and the windows were sealed, the prosecutors' office said.
Her stepfather took her pre-packaged microwavable meals, instant noodles and snacks, some of which she managed to sell by furtively breaking the seal on a window and lowering them to the ground in a basket to neighbors, the indictment stated.
Despite her contact with neighbors, the teenager was afraid to ask for help because she had long been a victim of domestic violence, the indictment said, citing an evaluation by the Center for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention in Taoyuan.
With the money she earned from selling her food, she bought a used cellphone from a neighbor and began making posts on social media about her suffering, which prompted an internet user to report the matter to the police last October, according to the indictment.
The young woman was rescued shortly after and taken to a care center, where she remains in the care of social welfare workers and professionals, police said.
The couple admitted to keeping their daughter locked up on the second floor of their residence, saying that she was "disobedient," the indictment stated.
The mother and stepfather have been charged with offenses against personal freedom and maltreating a minor, in violation of Articles 286, 296 and 302 of the Criminal Code, the prosecutors' office said.
Prosecutors said they are seeking heavy sentences against the couple, on grounds that they violated the Protection of Children and Youths Welfare and Rights Act and because they showed no remorse for the physical, mental and emotional damage caused to their daughter.