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Control Yuan lists official failings during Sunflower Movement

03/23/2023 11:21 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, March 23 (CNA) A day ahead of the ninth anniversary of an unsuccessful attempt by Sunflower Movement demonstrators to occupy the offices of the Executive Yuan (Cabinet), the Control Yuan on Thursday released an investigation report which identifies failures made by five government and law enforcement agencies during the incident.

Control Yuan members in charge of the investigation held a press conference Thursday to detail the five agencies and their failures during the incident which occurred on March 24, 2014.

Control Yuan Members Fan Sun-lu (范巽綠) and Shih Chin-fang (施錦芳) identified the agencies that made the mistakes as the Taipei City Police Department, Taipei District Prosecutor's Office, the Executive Yuan, the Ministry of the Interior and its National Police Agency (NPA).

Fan said the agencies drastically underestimated and underreported the number of civilians injured and the NPA declined to discipline police officers in charge.

Other failures include failure to properly educate and train police officers which led to excessive force and violence from a small number of officers, and failure of onsite commanding police officers to allocate personnel to properly determine the locations where 15 people who later received national compensation were injured during the incident, Fan said.

Police also adopted excessive crowd-dispersal protocols, and prosecutors failed to properly examine the video evidence from the scene, Fan said.

Fan said statistics provided by the Ministry of Health and Welfare reveal that between 12:18 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on March 24, 2014, 12 hospitals around the vicinity of the incident reported treating up to 166 injured individuals, a number that far exceeds the 42 reported by former NPA Deputy Director-General Tsai Tsan-po (蔡蒼柏).

Tsai provided the number during a Control Yuan inquiry on Oct. 14, 2020, adding that 191 officers were injured compared to 42 civilians, and that the injured officers did not seek medical attention.

In response to local media speculation as to how the Control Yuan concluded all 166 individuals treated during that timeframe were injured as a result of the event, Fan said that while such an inference was not conclusive, the investigation nevertheless revealed that a large and unusual number of patients poured into medical facilities in that period.

Fan also addressed the specifics of the other findings at the press conference, stating that the failures underscore the need for the five agencies identified to take action to reform themselves.

The Executive Yuan incident occurred shortly after a coalition of students and civic groups stormed and occupied the Legislative Yuan on March 18 to protest the passing of a cross-strait service trade agreement by the then ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party at the legislature without clause-by-clause review. The protest movement was later known as the Sunflower Student Movement.

After taking over the legislature, the group proceeded to try and occupy the Executive Yuan from late March 23 to early March 24.

The alleged excessive use of police force on protesters who breached the Executive Yuan compound prompted the Control Yuan to launch an investigation on April 7, 2014.

(By Lin Ching-yin and James Lo)


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