Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-09-19 06:42 PM
Chang Sen-wen, 60, was a key figure in the resistance of four families in Dapu Village, Chunan, against the demolition of their homes to make way for a science park. Miaoli County Magistrate Liu Cheng-hung sent in the bulldozers in July while most of the residents were away in Taipei for a protest.
Chang, who suffered from a severe depression, was reported as missing by his son Wednesday morning. His body was found in an irrigation channel during the afternoon, while police found camera footage showing him walking around the town at 2:10 a.m.
The immediate suspicion for the cause of death was suicide, though investigators have not excluded any other possibility, including an accident or homicide.
The family was scheduled to travel up to Taipei for an autopsy Friday, but it requested a postponement after Chang reportedly appeared in his daughter’s dream asking her to spare him the further agony of being cut up, reports said.
Chang’s son said he first wanted to see a report by investigators who visited the scene of his father’s death a second time Thursday before making a decision whether the autopsy should go ahead or not.
He questioned the fact that Chang had apparently left no suicide note and left home without telling anyone, describing those actions as uncharacteristic of his father.
An attorney for the family, Chan Shun-kuei, told reporters he found it suspicious that no mud was found on Chang’s nails, which could mean he had not struggled to stay out of the water. The creek was only 50 cm deep, while Chang’s hair was covered in mud, but not his nails, Chan said.
The attorney suggested that Chang might have been drugged before falling into the water and questioned the police cordon around the scene, saying it looked like prosecutors wanted to prevent evidence of a murder theory from leaking out.
Wednesday evening, Liu appeared outside the Chang home to offer his condolences, but he was refused entrance. Chang’s son later said that an apology was useless and that he could only forgive the county chief if he could bring back a living father.
While Liu was guided through a throng of protesters in Dapu, he was hit on the head by a shoe, which student activist Chen Wei-ting later said was his. The National Tsing Hua University student said he was angry about the lack of respect Liu had shown Chang.
In Taipei, youths clashed with police outside President Ma Ying-jeou’s official residence Wednesday night, accusing him of responsibility for the pharmacist’s death. “Blood debt should be repaid with blood,” the protesters shouted.
Farmers’ rights activists said Liu was guilty of Chang’s death, while Ma, Vice President Wu Den-yih, Premier Jiang Yi-huah and Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan were accessories to the crime.
Former opposition Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen visited the Chang family Thursday to pay her respects.
At least two people died in protests related to the Dapu development project, including an elderly woman who committed suicide by ingesting pesticides.