Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-09-20 02:58 PM
Coroners went ahead with their examination of the body Friday morning despite initial reluctance voiced by the dead man’s relatives.
Chang, whose pharmacy and three other homes were demolished by the Miaoli County Government to make way for a science park last July amid strong protests, was found dead in an irrigation channel Wednesday afternoon.
The 60-year-old man had left home around 2 a.m. that morning, surveillance cameras showed, and was reported missing after he failed to come home from his regular morning walk at 6 a.m.
Because of Chang’s pivotal role in the Dapu protests and because of a severe depression he suffered after the demolition, his death was immediately widely regarded as a suicide and triggered protests against Miaoli County Magistrate Liu Cheng-hung and against President Ma Ying-jeou.
Chang’s daughter reportedly had a dream in which she saw her father begging her not to allow an autopsy scheduled for Friday morning. However, after attorneys, prosecutors and coroners said the autopsy might be the only way to find out what really happened to Chang, the relatives relented.
Early Friday morning, four coroners and Chang’s daughter accompanied the body from the Toufen Mortuary in Miaoli County to a Coroners’ Research Institute in Taipei, where the autopsy took place until noon, reports said.
Because of the complexity of the investigation, which included a search for drugs and chemical substances, the results would not be available until a month from now, officials said.
Chang’s son reportedly told reporters that his father might have been pushed because he carried NT$1,600 (US$54) in cash and a key with him, which he would not have done if suicide had been on his mind.
Earlier suspicions focused on the absence of mud on his fingernails, which a family attorney said could show he had been pushed.
The tearing down of the four homes in Dapu Village, Chunan, provoked a widespread social movement with calls for changes to antiquated land expropriation laws and strong sudden street protests against government leaders.
Top movie directors and writers also took part in the campaign, which included mass rallies, a sit-in protest outside the Ministry of Interior and clashes with police at public appearances by Ma, Vice President Wu Den-yih and Premier Jiang Yi-huah.
Activists named the Miaoli County chief as the main culprit for Chang’s death and the other government leaders as accomplices.
When Liu appeared outside of Chang’s home after his death Wednesday evening, protesters accused him of murder and one student activist threw a shoe at him which hit his head. The county chief later said he would not file charges against the protester.
There were also scuffles between activists and police outside Ma’s official residence in Taipei.