Infant dumped in Taiwan: Probe into whether baby dead or alive when born

A Singaporean couple are key suspects in a case in Taiwan where an infant girl was found dumped in a waste food bin near Hotel B6.
A Singaporean couple are key suspects in a case in Taiwan where an infant girl was found dumped in a waste food bin near Hotel B6.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

The authorities in Taiwan are determining whether a female infant allegedly dumped by a Singaporean couple in central Taipei was dead or alive at birth.

According to Taiwan media reports, a post-mortem was conducted on the baby yesterday to extract, among other things, parts of the air sacs inside the lungs.

This is to determine whether the baby had taken a breath after she was born, reported Apple Daily.

Results of the post-mortem examination will make a crucial difference in the case against the 24-year-old woman and her 23-year-old boyfriend, who are the key suspects, said the Taiwanese police.

If the baby was alive when it was born, the case may be classified as murder, 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.

Results of the post-mortem exam will make a crucial difference in the case against the 24-year-old woman and her 23-year-old boyfriend, who are the key suspects, said Taiwanese police.

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 a recycling company employee 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.

The SPF said on Sunday that they have been in touch with the Taiwanese authorities and are waiting for an official request for assistance from their Taiwanese counterparts.

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.

Singapore does not have any extradition treaty or arrangement with Taiwan.

Law expert Walter Woon said that 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 that 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.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 06, 2019, with the headline 'Probe into whether baby dead or alive when born'. Print Edition | Subscribe