Eighty-eight shots were fired during a shooting incident in Tainan in November. The case remains unsolved. Between last year and October 2022, there were over 170 shooting incidents.
In October, a shooting incident motivated by a dispute occurred in Taipei's Wanhua District, leaving one person dead and four others injured. In November, 88 shots were fired during a shooting incident in Tainan. The case remains unsolved one month later. KMT legislators say the reason why the Tainan shooting occurred is due to organized crime and the photoelectric sensor industry.
Yu Yu-lan, Legislator (KMT): “It's because the ruling party allows organized crime to manipulate electoral results. This is the reason for the proliferation of illegal guns in Taiwan today.”
Chen I-hsin, Legislator (KMT): “If you want to buy a gun, all you have to do is take out your phone and google it. If you really want to buy one, there are places where you can buy one. If you want to learn how to use it, there are places that can teach you.”
Taiwan has seen a string of shooting incidents. There have been over 170 between last year and October this year. The KMT said there are so many guns in Taiwan, yet the number of police investigations into illegal arms started decreasing in 2019. It asked whether the number of illegal guns is decreasing or the police are ineffective.
Chiu Shao-chou, Deputy Commissioner, Criminal Investigation Bureau: “Amendments to the Controlling Guns, Ammunition and Knives Act stiffened penalties and also had a deterrent effect. That's why these numbers on our crackdowns show a downward trend.”
The issue of whether the police can open fire when facing off against criminals has always been a thorny issue. After amendments to the Act Governing the Use of Police Weapons were passed in September, the Criminal Investigation Bureau proposed establishing an investigatory task force on the use of police equipment comprising 13 to 17 experts and scholars from various fields including law, psychology, and police governance that have been approved by the interior minister. The task force would be responsible for writing reports for judicial authorities to reference.
Kuang Ching-tai, Director, Legal Affairs Division, CIB: “From past experience, we can see that cases where police equipment was used were frequently subject to judicial investigations. There is the so-called hindsight bias. Having and establishing a fair, impartial, and specialized investigatory mechanism is the only way to recreate the circumstances faced by our colleagues in the line of duty.”
A draft bill has already been sent to the Ministry of the Interior for consideration. Once the task force is operational, it will investigate any controversial incident involving serious injuries or death caused by a police firearm and consider the circumstances and legality to determine whether the use of force was warranted.