Convicted British man escapes Taiwan, spurring outcry

TAIPEI (AFP) - A British citizen who was due to serve a four-year prison sentence for killing a Taiwanese while driving drunk was found to have fled the island using a friend's passport, sparking an outcry.

Zain Taj Dean, an ethnic Indian, was convicted by the high court and jailed for four years in July 2012 after killing a local man while driving drunk in March 2010.

Dean was supposed to start serving his jail term from Sept 21 but failed to report to legal authorities, prompting prosecutors to issue an arrest warrant and confiscate his NT$150,000 (S$6,270) bail.

Further investigation revealed that Dean, in his early 40s, escaped Taiwan on August 14 using the passport of his friend identified only as David, who is a Caucasian with a different height and about 10 years younger.

The immigration officer who cleared Dean's fake passport was given a major demerit. But the punishment has failed to silence an outcry from the victim's family and local media.

Prosecutors in a statement promised to look further into the case and seek judicial cooperation from British authorities.

They said David was detained Tuesday on charges of forgery, hiding the convict and violating immigration law.