Montag, März 29, 2010
Foreigners and accidents (deadly example)
I see countless accidents on Taiwan's roads, always Thursday to Sunday when I drive around a bit. Not sure if the motionless people lying face down in a pool of blood always get to stand up again and say "pie say, pie say, nothing serious, we Taiwanese are the best drivers of the world". Press does not make a fuzz of it, death and blood are normal on the roads of Taiwan.
That is much different if the driver is a foreigner though. A British national being involved in a fatal accident with a motor cyclist, whose rider got killed, made big news in Taiwan. Excitement went far on the island, was on TV, in the papers and another unrelated Englishmen also driving a Mercedes got nasty comments (he reported on the foreigner forum forumosa.com).
If two locals are involved in a deadly accident the party presumed to be at fault must pay "blood money" in relation to his income to the victim's family and the police will help to negotiate (and probably take their share of it). A truck driver might pay as much as 40.000 or 80.000 NT, that is 1.000 or 2.000 Euro and then goes without punishment.
In case the two families cannot agree, the guilty driver may get a few month jail term.
Procedure is the same if the victim is a foreigner, meaning usually the family will not be interested in the bit of money and the accused local driver gets a wee bit of punishment, like 6 month in jail or whatever.
Posters on the foreigner forum forumosa.com warned before, a foreigner being accused of causing a fatal traffic accident with a local might get up to 12 years jail term; court cases against foreigners are hard to predict in their outcome. The excitement on island about this particular accident shows in which direction the proceedings are going.
We are all equal here on the island of Little China far east at the edge of the world. Longnoses excluded of course.