Green lawmaker: Police sought ER records of injured protesters
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-04-10 02:59 PM
DPP legislator Lin Shu-fen disclosed Thursday that the Criminal Investigation Division of the Taipei Police Department had sent an enquiry to six hospitals in the city asking for records of patients in their Emergency Rooms during the period of 1AM to 3AM the night of March 24. That is the period immediately following the action by riot police to remove a group of protesters who moved into the Executive Yuan five days after students in the Sunflower movement took over the Assembly Hall of the Legislative Yuan.

Lin noted that normally judges and prosecutors have ready access to such information, so why would the police ask for a separate listing of names? She urged the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) to look into the incident as soon as possible and said that if laws were broken in the police request, those who issued the message should be held accountable.

Captain Huang Ming-chao admitted Wednesday that the CID had indeed sent a letter to several hospitals in Taipei requesting such information in order to abet the division’s investigation of the March 24 eviction. Huang said that although the message was sent to 4 or 5 hospitals, none of the hospitals contacted was willing to provide the medical records of patients or other relevant information. On Thursday Wang Chuo-chun of the National Police Administration said the failure to respond showed that there was no problem with leaks regarding patients’ records.

On Thursday, however, DPP legislators continued to press MOHW to provide an explanation of the police request. Chen Chieh-ju noted that the police had not asked for information on a particular case but rather issued a blanket request for records. Chen asked, “Does that mean you provide records for women who gave birth or for someone who had appendicitis or other such cases? Would that be right?" Chen asked MOHW to explain the request and identify the six hospitals it was addressed to.

Lin Hsiu-lian, an advisor from the Ministry of Justice, pointed out that police can indeed ask for such information in accordance with Article 133 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Lin Shu-fen, however, maintained that the article cited by the MOJ advisor was not relevant. The legislator noted that Article 72 of the Medical Law stipulates that a hospital may not disclose patient information without proper authorization and asked what the penalty might be in such a case.

Li Wei-chiang of MOHW responded that the fine varies depending on the content provided by the hospital. It could range from NT$50,000 to 250,000, Li said the ministry will investigate to see whether any hospital provided such information to the police.

Lin Shu-fen reminded the ministry that it must act responsibly and follow up on these questions, otherwise they are simply allowing authorities to "kill off elements of the student movement."

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