Family of murdered Malaysian student to sue Taiwan govt for alleged negligence: Lawyer

Malaysian student Irene Chung was killed in Taiwan on Oct 29, 2020.
Malaysian student Irene Chung was killed in Taiwan on Oct 29, 2020.PHOTOS: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

SIBU, SARAWAK (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The family of Irene Chung will be filing a civil suit against several authorities in Taiwan for alleged negligence that led to her death on Oct 29, says their lawyer.

These include the Chang Jung Christian University (CJCU), Taiwan City Council, and Taiwanese government.

Ms Chung's family lawyer Yap Hoi Liong told a press conference on Monday (Nov 23) that the issue in the civil suit was that if the authorities had taken preventive measures, she would not have died.

"About a month earlier on Sept 29, it was reported that another student of CJCU had almost become the victim of the same suspect. If they had taken up that case, we strongly believe it would not have led to Chung's death," said Mr Yap.

He claimed that Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen had admitted to Ms Chung's family that there was negligence in not following up in the first case.

Photocopies of Ms Tsai's statement were given to the press.

"Since the President had admitted negligence by her authorities, we can now proceed with the civil suit," said Mr Yap.

President Tsai on Oct 31 apologised to the family of Ms Chung, who was murdered in southern Taiwan, and also to the people of Malaysia over the incident, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported.

The incident seriously tarnished Taiwan's image as a safe and friendly place, and exposed problems in Taiwan's society that must be thoroughly reviewed so as to ensure that such a tragedy does not occur again, Ms Tsai said during a high-level security meeting in Taipei.

Ms Chung, 24, a student of CJCU in Tainan was reported missing by the school on Oct 29 morning.

Footage captured on CCTV cameras showed her walking by herself along a railway overpass near the campus at around 8pm on Oct 28, before she was reported missing.

Police found and arrested a suspect surnamed Liang on Oct 29 on suspicion that he had abducted Ms Chung.

Liang admitted that he had raped her before strangling her with a rope, the Central News Agency cited prosecutors as saying.

He then dumped her body in the mountainous Alian district in neighbouring Kaohsiung, it reported.

Tainan police said at least one other CJCU student has reported to the authorities that a man had tried to abduct her in that same location on Sept 30.

Lawyer Yap said that Ms Chung's family is engaging Taiwan Bar Association president Lin Ruey-Cheng to take up the civil suit.

On the suspect, Mr Yap said he has not been charged yet, though he had admitted to the murder.

Mr Yap said the family hopes to see the criminal sentenced to death so as to send out a warning to others.

The family is also seeking the release of the autopsy report on the cause of Ms Chung's death in a month's time instead of the usual three months.

"We are also seeking for Tiong (Special Envoy to China Tiong King Sing) to do a government-to-government consultation to compel the Malaysian government to take cognisance of the case together with the Taiwanese government," he added.

Meanwhile, Ms Chung's father Desmond Chung thanked the immigration departments of Malaysia and Taiwan for granting them quick approval to visit Taiwan on Oct 30 to bring back her remains.

He also expressed his appreciation to Datuk Seri Tiong and the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee for their assistance.