Emily Yeh in Taichung after repatriation
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-01-20 02:41 PM
Emily Yeh, an Army intelligence officer who went AWOL while in Thailand in June 2012 and fled without authorization to the UK, is back in Taiwan and facing charges that could net her jail time of up to five years under the Armed Forces Criminal Code. Sent back to Taiwan by UK authorities following the issue of a guarantee that prosecutors would not ask for the death penalty in her case or subject her to unlawful persecution, Yeh’s return is being hailed as a step forward in legal relations between Taiwan and the UK.

Yeh arrived at Taoyuan International Airport Sunday afternoon and was whisked off to Taichung for processing by the Taichung District Prosecutors Office. Worried that she might try to flee if released, a judge ordered her placed in the custody of the court until her trial can be arranged.

Appointed lawyer Kuo Teh-tian said that his client was willing to accept any judicial sanctions but noted that he was taken aback by the detention order, which will mean that there is no way Yeh can spend time with her family during the New Year holidays.

Yeh’s mother was on hand when she arrived at Taoyuan Airport, but in the crush of people the older Yeh was unable to see her daughter and went to wait at the Taichung District Prosecutors Office in the evening. Told that her daughter would be unable to see her, the mother said dejectedly, "I run around the whole day and wind up disappointed," refusing to say anything further.

The Taichung District Prosecutors Office noted that the charges against Yeh involve breaching Article 39 of the Armed Forces Criminal Law and there was a flight risk, thus the detention was warranted. Taichung District Court Judge grated the prosecutors’ request at about 11pm.

Yeh’s mother talked to the media in an effort to clear up some of the criticisms that have been leveled at the young officer. She said that Emily was chewing gum at the airport in order to alleviate a tinnitus condition, and it was not an act of defiance or disdain. She also revealed that her daughter suffers from kidney stones and there was no intention of malingering behind her refusal to accept repatriation to Taiwan.

Addressing rumors that Yeh often wore makeup while on duty in Taiwan, the mother said Yeh went to school in the US, where practically every girl in class went heavy on the makeup. She said the young woman had problems adapting to military life because of the ban on makeup and other restrictions.

Yeh’s mother added that her daughter also did not like eating directly from large cooking and serving vessels in the mess and preferred to bring a box lunch to work in the offices of the MIB where she was assigned. The mother said the military’s claim that this meant that she was anti-social was not correct.

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