Kinmen Court to take on Justin Lin, other military cases
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-01-13 11:23 AM
The second round of transfers of legal cases from the military justice system to civil courts In accordance with amendments to the Military Justice Law took place Monday with the turnover of 74 military detainees to the civilian legal system to await verdicts in their cases. With the second phase of transfers, Taiwan’s peacetime military justice system has passed into history.

Attention during this phase of activity is focused on former army company commander Justin Lin, whose case will be handed over the court at Kinmen. The Kinmen Prosecutors Office will examine the Lin case and make a decision on whether it intends to extend the warrant for Lin or whether it will be revoked.

Justin Lin was born in Yilan as Lin Cheng-yi, but became known as Lin Zhengyi in 1979 after defecting to China. Initial reports said that Lin used a basketball as a flotation device to swim from Kinmen to nearby Fujian Province in China, but subsequent investigation by the military concluded that he used a life jacket issued to him as a company commander. He crossed the distance to the nearest island at low tide, taking advantage of favorable currents and the rising tide.

Military authorizes say the distance between Kinmen’s Mashan island and Jiaoyu in Fujian at that time was some 2130 meters. It was the lowest tide of the year, exposing the seabed on both sides of the gap and lowering the water to depths that would allow wading so that Lin did not need to swim a very long distance. It is estimated that he made it to Jiaoyu in less than two hours.

Lin is currently Vice-chairman of China’s CPPCC Standing Committee. When he defected from Kinmen he was originally listed as missing, and a warrant for his arrest was not issued until the end of 2002, thus legal experts have debated whether the day he left Kinmen or the date the arrest warrant was issued in 2002 should be used in determining if the statute of limitations applies in his case. Some military lawyers have said that since he has cooperated with the Chinese government Lin should be classed as a "continuing criminal,” thus the statute of limitations does not apply. The Ministry of Justice has said a decision in the matter will be left up to the Kinmen court.

The Kinmen Prosecutors Office says it will first issue a warrant for Lin, and if there are any new discoveries in the case in the future, they will be carefully examined.

Taiwan’s Code of Court Martial Procedure was amended by the Legislative Yuan on August 6 last year. The first phase of transfers of cases to civilian courts took place on August 15, and Monday’s action completes the second and final phase of the transfer.

A total of nine cases were transferred from military courts to the Taiwan High Court and district courts in Kaohsiung and Hualien on Monday for disposition. At the same time, a total of 65 inmates were transferred out of Tainan Military Prison to await court decisions or to serve out their time.

In addition, military prosecutors also handed over 237 cases for investigation and 61 cases of ordinary protective custody. Notable cases include that of Justin Lin, female intelligence officer Emily Yeh and Liu Kuan-chun, a former colonel and head of Disbursing for the National Security Bureau. Civilian prosecutors will decide whether to continue issuing warrants for those accused of violations of the Code of Court Martial Procedure. Emily Yeh is currently being held in the eastern part of the UK pending a return to Taiwan.

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