A social worker with a Taiwanese NGO reflects on helping a man through the impossible grief of losing his son to preventable police violence in a faraway land.
The News Lens
By: TNL Staff
Editor’s note: On Aug. 31, 2017, Nguyen Quoc Phi (阮國非), a Vietnamese runaway migrant worker in Hsinchu, was caught allegedly stealing a car. When police arrived, he threw stones at the officers and tried to flee. The police fatally fired nine shots at Nguyen. They were accused of failing to assist Nguyen as he lost blood and laid helplessly on the street.
Afterwards, his father, Nguyen Quoc Dong (阮國同), wrote a personal letter, conveyed through the Taiwan International Worker’s Association (TIWA), which questioned why his son would steal a car as he did not know how to drive.
On Aug. 28, 2018, Nguyen’s family reached a civil settlement with police. Terms were not made public, but the amount was higher than the standard NT$2,500,000 (US$81,175) loss of life compensation issued for wrongful use of weapons by police. The family accepted the outcome and agreed to a suspended sentence for policeman Chen Chung-wen (陳崇文), whom the judicial panel ruled used his gun improperly.
The author of this article is Chen Hsiu-lien (陳秀蓮), a researcher at TIWA. Below, she details her experience hosting the father of the deceased in Taiwan.