SINGAPORE - The authorities in Taiwan are determining whether the female infant allegedly dumped by a Singaporean couple in central Taipei was dead or alive at birth.
According to Taiwan media reports, an autopsy was conducted on the baby on Tuesday (March 5) to extract samples for forensic tests to determine the infant's cause of death and whether she died before or after birth.
The samples include parts of the air sacs inside the lungs, to determine whether the baby had taken a breath after she was delivered, reported Apple Daily Taiwan.
The results of the autopsy will make a crucial difference in the case against the 24-year-old woman and her 23-year-old boyfriend, who are key suspects in the case, said Taiwanese police.
If the baby was alive when she was delivered, the case could be classified as murder, depending on the cause of death, according to reports.
After the cause of death is determined, Taiwan police may contact the Singapore Police Force (SPF) for their assistance.
While it usually takes about two months for post-mortem reports to be completed, the findings for urgent cases may be released after about a week, according to a Taiwanese forensic pathologist interviewed by United Daily News.
On Monday, Taiwanese police revealed that blood samples taken from the hotel room the Singaporean couple stayed in matched the DNA of the baby.
The baby's body was found last Tuesday by an employee of a recycling company, who had been sorting through the trash. The infant was found in a garbage bag, with her placenta and umbilical cord still intact.
The couple, believed to have been dating for a year, reportedly flew to Taiwan on Feb 19 and returned to Singapore last Tuesday afternoon.
According to police investigations, they had stayed in a hotel in Ximending, as the man was participating in a darts competition in the area, reported Apple Daily Taiwan.
The SPF said on Sunday that they have been in touch with the Taiwanese authorities and are waiting for an official request from their Taiwanese counterparts on the assistance they need.
On Monday, The Straits Times visited the woman’s family home in Choa Chu Kang and that of her boyfriend in Yishun, but no one responded despite repeated attempts to contact them.
Singapore does not have any extradition treaty or arrangement with Taiwan.
Law expert Walter Woon said if the couple did indeed commit an offence, it would be tricky to prosecute them in Singapore as the infant was born overseas.
The former Attorney-General added the only plausible prosecutorial action is under Section 108A of the Penal Code, where the couple must be proven to have conspired in Singapore to commit a crime overseas.
“On the face of it, it doesn’t sound like it’s something we can prosecute,” added Prof Woon.