Taiwan Court Upholds Laws Restricting Hunting

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan’s Constitutional Court on Friday upheld several key provisions of two laws that restrict hunting, in a setback to the island’s Indigenous rights movement.

Although the court struck down some parts of the laws — including a rule that would require hunters to apply for permits — it declined to overhaul the restrictions altogether, stating that Indigenous hunting culture had to be balanced against the need to protect the environment and wildlife.

“The Constitution recognizes both the protection of Indigenous peoples’ right to practice their hunting culture and the protection of the environment and ecology,” chief justice Hsu Tzong-li said on Friday. “Both fundamental values are equally important.”

Conservationists and animal rights activists welcomed the decision. In March, 57 animal rights groups in Taiwan issued a joint statement, arguing that protecting hunting culture was not comparable to guaranteeing the right to hunt freely.

offered a formal apology to Indigenous peoples for centuries of “pain and mistreatment,” and said that she would take concrete steps to rectify a history of injustice.

The rights movement has lately centered on Mr. Talum’s case, which many activists see as linked to broader issues of Indigenous land rights and self-governance. They say that the government’s laws restricting hunting are unnecessary since Indigenous hunting culture is already circumscribed by a complex web of taboos and rituals.

Experts said the ruling on Friday reflected the government’s lack of understanding of Indigenous culture.

“This explanation restricts the Indigenous right to hunt from the cultural perspective of non-Indigenous peoples,” Awi Mona, a professor of Indigenous law at National Dong Hwa University in the eastern city of Hualien said in an interview.

Taiwan’s Supreme Court had dismissed Mr. Talum’s appeal in 2015, but in 2017 it granted an extraordinary appeal to have the case referred for constitutional interpretation. Mr. Talum did not serve any jail time.

“This outcome was a little unexpected,” Hsieh Meng-yu, Mr. Talum’s lawyer said in an interview after the court ruling was announced. “We thought the Indigenous rights movement would keep moving forward — we didn’t think that there would suddenly be this decline.”

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Taiwan Prosecutors Charge Man With Causing Deadly Train Crash

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwanese prosecutors on Friday formally charged the operator of a crane truck that slid down an embankment into the path of an oncoming express train, resulting in the island’s deadliest rail disaster in decades.

The operator of the truck, Lee Yi-hsiang, has been in detention in Hualien, a city in eastern Taiwan, since shortly after the April 2 crash. He had previously apologized and taken responsibility for causing the collision, which forced the eight-car Taroko Express to fly off the rails and slam into the walls of a tunnel, killing 49 people and injuring more than 200 others.

“This case has already caused the innocent deaths of 49 victims, and the enduring pain of their families,” Chou Fang-yi, the Hualien District prosecutor, told reporters at a briefing on Friday.

It also caused millions of dollars in economic losses and damaged Taiwan’s reputation as a destination for tourism, she said.

many families who were on their way to scenic eastern Taiwan for the Tomb Sweeping holiday weekend, emerged from a nearby tunnel and collided with the vehicle. The train had been traveling at about 80 miles an hour, investigators have said.

The prosecutors said they were bringing multiple charges against Mr. Lee, including negligent homicide, leaving the crash scene and falsifying his credentials to apply for the project.

If convicted on all counts, Mr. Lee could face up to twelve years in prison, Ms. Chou said in an interview.

Mr. Hua and two other project supervisors who were not at the crash site that day have also been charged with negligent homicide, a crime which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The police department had previously said that Mr. Hua was a migrant worker from Vietnam.

The revelation that the crane truck had been associated with a government-commissioned project has triggered an increasingly heated public discussion in recent days about the Taiwan Railways Administration, which runs the Taroko Express and was also the agency behind the slope safety scheme.

train derailed in northeastern Taiwan’s Yilan County.

Just days after the crash in Hualien this month, President Tsai Ing-wen vowed to overhaul the railway agency, which has long been dogged by complaints about its bureaucratic culture and weak safety consciousness.

“When it comes to the TRA, my view is much the same,” Ms. Tsai said. “People everywhere in Taiwan deserve to have a safe path home. Reforming the agency is our unshirkable responsibility.”

The train crash in Hualien has been one of the worst disasters that Ms. Tsai has faced since she took office in 2016. Her transportation minister, Lin Chia-lung, has already offered to resign and will leave office next week.

An official with the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board, a government agency that is responsible for investigating major transportation accidents, said recently that the agency’s investigation into the crash was continuing. It expected to release the results next year.

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