A man and his partner moved out of their residence overnight, after a case of child abuse was uncovered in Hsinchu County, yesterday, and pictures of a malnourished, battered boy were posted on Facebook.
A woman who remains unnamed in media reports, yesterday paid a surprise visit to her two sons, who live with their father, only to find her three-year old son malnourished, covered in bruises and faeces, and locked out on a balcony with cable ties wrapped around his upper arms.
The boy’s father was not at home at the time. When the man’s live-in girlfriend cut the cable ties, the starving boy immediately picked up his own excrement and attempted to eat it, according to media reports.
The child’s mother called the police, and took the boy to hospital. After a check-up, treatment, and the intervention of social workers from the Hsinchu City Department of Social Affairs, the boy was released into his mother’s care.
The boy’s father and his partner were interviewed by police on suspicion of offences against The Protection of Children and Youth Welfare and Rights Act, and today were interviewed by the District Prosecutor, who executed a emergency family protection order under Article 31 of the Domestic Violence Prevention Act.
The District Prosecutor also called on members of the public to act rationally, calmly consider the facts, and not jump to conclusions.
Yesterday, a friend of the boy’s mother posted pictures and information to a popular breaking news Facebook group. The pictures of the scrawny, malnourished boy, covered in bruises, standing next to a pile of excrement with arms trussed tightly with cable ties, sparked public outrage and threats to the father and his girlfriend.
The suspect couple closed their Facebook pages a short time later, and fled the residence which they had been renting for around 6 months.
While reporters went to the residence to interview neighbors this morning, a group of men dressed in black showed up seeking the couple. According to Apple Daily, one heavily-tattooed gentleman pounded on the door of the suspect’s residence with his fists and feet, demanding that they come out and show themselves.
However, nobody answered the door, and the group eventually gave up and left. At around noon, another man arrived with a bag full of eggs, which he threw at the door and windows. The egg-thrower was taken away by police. The landlord showed up at around 1:00pm with a chain and padlock to secure the door and prevent a possible break-in.
Today, a spokesperson from the Wenhua Police Station attempted to clarify some of the facts from the investigation. The officer said that police visited the boys home and found that it was neat and tidy. The malnourished boy’s older brother appeared “normal, fat, and healthy.” The boys’ father, an air-conditioning maintenance worker, had told them that the younger child had a learning disability, and did not eat excrement, but had a habit of playing with it, which angered the couple and caused them to tie his arms with cable ties.
A social worker named Lee, from the Department of Social Affairs visited the boy at his mother’s home today and later told reporters that the boy’s parents had divorced in October last year. The mother cared for one daughter, and the two boys, 3 and 4 years-old were in the custody of the father. The last time the mother had visited the boys was in May.
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