Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Zain Dean Case: statement

Some of you may recall the case in March in which the Taipei Times reported that "Expat Bailed after hit and run". The report as it currently stands, though it has been corrected for some of the errors identified below (see also the report in the China Post today).

A British businessman, Zain Dean, was released on bail and prohibited from leaving the country by Taipei prosecutors following his alleged involvement in a hit-and-run in Taipei City.

Taipei police said Dean, 39, chief executive officer of NCL Media UK’s Taiwan Branch, has lived in Taiwan for 16 years.

Prosecutors released Dean on NT$150,000 bail on Saturday evening.

As Dean was leaving the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office, relatives of Huang Chiun-teh (黃俊德), the man killed in the accident, attempted to attack him.

Prosecutors said that during questioning, Dean denied involvement in the accident, saying he was drinking with friends at a hostess pub until the early hours of the morning on Thursday, but because he was drunk, a pub worker drove him home and he had no recollection of any car accident.

Prosecutors said the pub worker denied that he drove Dean home in his car. They said CCTV footage from outside the club showed the pub worker getting into the driver's seat. He returned to the club on foot six minutes later, they added.
The individual in question in this case, Zain Dean, has released a statement that explains why the Taipei Times had to correct information in this report. Those of you with long experience here will nod.... Disclaimers: I have never met Mr. Dean nor anyone else involved and have no involvement in this case whatsoever. This posting represents Mr. Dean's point of view only.

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Personal Statement of Zain Dean
Regarding the car accident of morning of 25th March 2010, in Taipei City
Document Date: 6 May 2010

You might have heard some reports of my involvement in an accident that happened recently. There has been much media mis-information regarding my involvement, and this document is an attempt to show the facts of the case as they really happened. Even though my professional career in Taiwan for the past 16 years has come to an abrupt end, it still means a lot to me to let the people who actually know me understand the real truth behind some of the recent sensational headlines.

Firstly, although the accident was not caused by me, (by reading this document and hearing my side, you will be able to make up your own mind about this) the car was owned by me, and I was in the car at the time of the accident. Thus I feel a deep sense of moral responsibility for what happened.

As such I wanted to send my deepest condolences in this time of deep sorrow for the family. I sincerely share their grief at this darkest hour and I feel deep sadness and sorrow.

Recently my own mother passed away, it was a tremendously painful and confusing time. I am aware of the pain and suffering that must be going through the minds of the immediate family of Mr. Hwang, the deceased. I hope that by having more people read this document, the family of Mr Hwang can also find out what actually happened during the early hours of 25th March 2010, and that they can find peace.

RECENT developments:

The English language media, Taipei Times recently published an apology and correction for their incorrect reporting. At least this is a start in getting my name cleared.



Timeline of events.

25 March 2010. 1am. I received a phone call from a Taiwanese man, a neighbour of mine, (Mr A), who called me from a KTV on Lin Sen N Road, and wanted me to come out to meet him. I was already in bed, sleeping, but as Mr A was a extremely wealthy person who had indicated he would be willing to invest in my company, I decided to come out. In Taiwan (and China), the business custom is to go to these kinds of KTV’s/ hostess bars in the early hours, drink whole glasses of alcohol in one swig and ‘talk business/ bond’. It’s not something I have done in the past 16 years of being in Taiwan, as most of my customers are leading corporations competing on the international business arena, looking for brand consulting, corporate communications etc. These kinds of customers are not looking to get drunk in a hostess bar, but rather increased market share on a global basis.

After a few hours of intense drinking, I became very drunk and Mr A decided to change venue. As I had driven my car (initially not intending to drink, since I had for the past several weeks been part of a vegetarian/ non alcoholic / health plan) to the first KTV, and had now become drunk, Mr A called the management of the 2nd KTV (another KTV/hostess bar on Sun Chiang Road) and asked them to send over a driver. Mr A apparently was a regular and big customer of the 2nd KTV, and thus he had preferential treatment. The driver arrived, and took us to the 2nd KTV.

When we arrived, the same process was enacted, however, this time I was so tired, and drunk that I quickly became sleepy and according to Mr A, ‘was no fun’ and he decided to leave.

Mr A then requested the management to provide another driver to take me home, as it was obvious that I would not be able to walk properly, let alone drive. Thus a driver was selected, and I was placed into the passenger seat, and the driver got in the drivers seat, and the car left the front of the KTV (this was recorded on CCTV and provided to the police by the KTV). This was also seen by Mr A.

I was then driven home, indicating to the driver I lived near 101 (I live in one of the buildings in front of the 101 building). What I remember of the ride home was that it was very fast, it was raining, and the sky was dark (still night). Also my head kept bumping up against the glass, as I slumped to the right. I didn’t hear or see anyone being hit (neither did I receive any injury nor the airbag go off).

When we neared the 101, the driver tried to wake me up asking, ‘where do you live, what’s your address?’ I turned around in a half-sleeply state and saw a man I didn’t recognize thus I didn’t want to give him any details of where I lived etc. I simply asked him to drop me off at the corner (SunRen and Hsinyi) of the street behind my house. I then got in the drivers seat (not even at this point noticing the damage on the car) and drove the last couple of hundred meters home, parked the car and somehow made it up to the house.

On arrival at the house, I had to ring the doorbell, as I hadn’t brought my keys or briefcase. My wife asked me about these, and I was unable to answer, still quite drunk. She then went down to the parking lot basement, and found them, and also found that the car had been in an accident. She immediately called Mr A and asked him about it, he said the driver had driven me home and that’s all he knew of the matter.

However, regarding the damage to the car, he also said that we shouldn’t make a big fuss about it, as ‘the parking lot attendants don’t make a lot of money’. The implication was that instead of complaining to the KTV about the damage, we should just get it fixed by ourselves. (In Chinese the phrase was, “bu yao numa jee jow”).

I was unaware of this conversation or that the car had received any damage. The next day my wife called me from work to wake me and asked me what had happened the night before, specifically to the car. I replied, nothing that I knew off. She asked me to go to the basement parking lot to see for myself, and I did so. I was very surprised to see that the damage to the front right side of the car, a broken bumper, a crushed light fitting, body panel damage, radiator damage and some chassis damage.

After discussing this with my wife, I came to the conclusion that the driver must have hit a lamp post or suchlike, as it had been raining etc., and based on what Mr A had said to my wife, I decided to take the car out to the repair shop I normally go to, near my house, and a place I’d been getting my cars over the years repaired time after time. After all, I had been trying to ‘win over’ Mr A and hopefully have him invest in my company, the last thing I wanted to do was to make a mountain out of a molehill.

This repair shop only has one slot for vehicles, so other cars waiting to be repaired must be parked outside on the public road. The owner of the repair shop (Mr M) asked me what had caused this, I said I didn’t know (not wanting to tell him that I had been to a hostess bar, etc). He estimated the repair cost to be quite high if we used new original (Mercedes) parts, but lower if we used second hand parts. Either way, he was not able to give a price, so I left the car outside his shop in full public view and then went home. By this time, it was noon Thursday, the 25th March.

(Note the car in question was a 1994 Mercedes Benz E320, which I bought for 100,000 NTD approximately 2 years ago, at the time of the accident, the market price for such car was approximately 60,000-80,000 NTD).

After a day had elapsed, I visited the repair store and learned that second parts would not be easy to find (radiator) and chassis straightening, numerous panel repairs and a new front bumper would cost over 100,000 NTD using original parts, and for second hand parts, he’d have to take a few weeks to find out.

As I had originally been planning to leave Taiwan at the end of March (all my friends on Facebook and at the Rotary club for example had known this in early March when I had told them) I decided to have the car scrapped instead. I didn’t see the point of spending a lot of money to repair a car, more than it’s worth, nor did I see the point of waiting for weeks until parts could be found as I was planning on leaving in the next few weeks.

(I had made the statement on Facebook and given a speech at the Rotary club to that effect. I had already started giving away my books and paintings to charity, etc. The fact I was getting ready to leave at the end of March, latest April, was not a secret to all those that knew me).

On Friday I told Mr M at the repair store of my idea, and he then proceeded to remove the DVD player etc from the car. I asked my wife to have the car scrapped. After she contacted the scrap yard, she received another offer instead. Instead of scrapping the car (which would be done immediately, on the 26th March) she was offered the option of selling the car instead (which would mean an ownership change that would happen on the 31st).

(Of course, if I had been planning to ‘destroy the evidence’, I would have taken the quicker option, and the car would have been converted to a block of metal immediately. By taking the slower option, I would be leaving the ‘evidence’ open to future investigation, not something one would do if he had the motive to destroy the evidence).

By the evening of Friday the 25th March, I still had no idea whatsoever that my car had been involved in a fatal hit and run. I had spent the afternoon working as usual. In the evening however, my wife received a phone call from Mr A’s wife. She said that she’d seen a newspaper report about the accident, and that it involved a black Mercedes, of the same model as mine. The accident had happened recently. She came round to our house, with Mr A and all four of us looked at the newspaper report. There seemed to be a link and all of us agreed that we should take the initiative and visit the police ourselves and volunteer whatever information we had. Certainly I had not driven the car home so there didn’t seem to be any undue reason to worry.

After they left, I called Mr D, the most senior person at our Rotary club, by number of years in Taiwan. I told him what had happened, and he advised me to (1) voluntarily go to the police and make a statement of what I knew (2) check to see if the car had proper insurance and whether the insurance would cover this kind of accident.

As a result I asked my wife to go to the office and check the insurance paperwork immediately. During this time, I began pacing up and down the apartment, trying to get my head around this situation. I tried calling Mr A to see if he could come with me to the police station, and I couldn’t reach him.

A few minutes after my wife arrived at the office, she called me and told me that the Da An police wanted to meet her near the office and ask her some questions. She had agreed to meet with them, and they had taken her to the police station.

I called Mr D (9.03pm) and updated him on the situation, he again advised to (1) go to the police station voluntarily to see what was going on, and (2) that he’d arrange for a lawyer to come the next morning at 9 am to authorize and approve the content of any statement I would need to make.

At this point, it still wasn’t 100% confirmed that the accident had involved my car, and even if it did, I wasn’t the driver, so I thought I would be able to go to the police station, tell them who the driver was, and come home. I assumed then I would be able to come back the next day with the lawyer Mr D offered, if necessary.

I then got changed into a suit, picked up my briefcase and went down the elevator to find the Da An police waiting for me on the 1st floor. I asked if I could go to the Hsin Yi police station to make my statement and they refused. The reason I wanted to go to Hsin Yi not Da An police station was very simple.....[removed] Also Hsin Yi was right next to my house, a 5 minute walk.

[removed]

In my suit was my wallet, and keys. I didn’t have a passport or toothbrush or anything that would indicate I was trying to ‘escape the country’ as was reported by the media. Also my telephone communication with Mr D and the text messages we exchanged also shows this very clearly.

The Da An police later told the media, whom they invited into the police station right next to where I was being interviewed, that I had been ‘caught’ trying to ‘escape to Jin Men’, which was absolutely incorrect.

I was told by the policemen (CID officer ‘X’) if I had been driving the car at 5am on Chung Hsiao section 5, I said I hadn’t been. He then showed me newspaper reports of the accident. I told them the driver was someone else, a person allocated by the KTV where I had been that evening, to drive me home.

Then at the police station I was asked if I was willing to have a blood test done to test for alcohol or amphetamine use. I agreed and the tests were done at a local hospital.

Officer X insisted I make a statement immediately. I asked for an interpreter from the foreign affairs police, and this was refused to me two times. On the third request, Officer X allowed a foreign affairs police officer from the national police administration to attend (Officer ‘F’).

Unfortunately as it was already quite late now, into the early hours of the morning, and Mr D said he couldn’t get a Chinese speaking lawyer to come out so late.

So I decided to tell Officer F what had happened and who was the driver, and Officer F managed to persuade the Da An police to listen to me and check out my story. Reluctantly Officer X came with us in a police van to the 2nd KTV on Sun Chiang Road.

The officers went to the KTV doorway and asked the parking lot attendants if they had taken any foreigner home a few days ago. They all denied it. Officer F asked me if I would be able to identify the driver. I said I wouldn’t, since I didn’t have a clear recollection of who the driver was (I had been drunk and sleepy) so I didn’t want to implicate anyone innocent. Officer asked again, more forcefully, and then one of the KTV admitted driving me home. This man was then immediately placed into the van.

Then a strange thing happened, whilst officer F was talking to the KTV staff at the KTV next door (there were two KTVs right next to each other) officer X, allowed the other KTV staff to come up to the van where the driver had been placed and started discussing the drivers alibi. I knew this because I speak and understand spoken Chinese fairly well.

They basically started colluding right in front of officer X, as to ‘what had happened’. The driver stated to his co-workers that he didn’t drive me home and that he had come back to the KTV soon after leaving. He told his co-workers where he had ‘dropped me off’ (across the street on the other side), and they started repeating what he’d said, in an effort to commit it to their collective memories and ‘get their story straight’. He told them a location, but wasn’t sure exactly. One of his co-workers gave a suggestion, ‘was it xyz street’, and after a pause, they all agreed it was so.

[removed]

At the police station, I wasn’t asked to give a statement, but now the driver was. After an hour or so, the officer who was questioning the driver came out and said “good news for you” as he patted me on the back, “the drivers confessed to what happened, what he’s stated supports what you’ve said” [paraphrased from Mandarin Chinese]. This was a huge relief for me, and the officers who had been with me to the KTV to pick up the driver also seemed relieved. Officer F, even went as far as saying to the other uniformed police present, “see I told you it wasn’t Dean, I’ve been doing police work for many years, and I have good instincts. When the driver had gotten into the van, I had sat next to him, and I noticed his legs had been shaking, he had been very nervous’.

At this point, we sat in semi circle and I started telling the police about the work I did in Taiwan, working over 16 years under the presidencies of Lee Tung Hwei, Chen and Ma, in different ministries (Ministry of Economics, Foreign Affairs, National Security Council, Tourism, etc). We became friendly and exchanged name cards and telephone numbers. One of the other officers, who had been in a room nearby who had been interviewing my wife, opened the door to see what the commotion was. He even took a picture of us all together, he said, ‘it was like seeing a teacher with his students all chatting together’.

I then sent a text message to Mr D, from our Rotary club (at 2.03am), stating; “Thanks [for your help], now apparently they’ve gotten a confession from the other person [the driver] … what an unexpected blessing … maybe that prayer worked …”

I got a reply back at 2.04am from Mr D; “Prayer does it! I prayed to God to help solve you’re problem. It is good news. Thank you Jesus”

I then replied to him; “Now need to get home … some time soon. Thankyou”

Mr D replied; “At least you can sleep peacefully. Talk to you tomorrow”.

At this point, I was getting ready to go home. But after another hour or so of waiting, I started to wonder what was happening.

Officer F, told me the owner of the KTV had arrived and was talking to the head of the police station in private upstairs.

Later, the tone of the whole office changed. The officers who I’d been joking with all disappeared, including officer F. I noticed that more and more cameramen from the local media had started milling around the foyer of the floor I was on, nearby where I had been sitting. Every time I went to the bathroom, I noticed the number of them was increasing, going from one or two, up to 5 or 6. One time I walked past, I noticed one of the cameramen saying to officer X, “Thanks Big Brother, for giving us this opportunity” and Officer X was saying “don’t mention it”. I started wondering what was going on, and why these media people were there.

The hours were starting to drag by. There was no one around whom I could ask what was happening.

Suddenly officer X appeared and was now very aggressive. “Why don’t you admit you drove the car? We know it was you who drove the car, why don’t you confess now?” I was dumbfounded. “What?” I asked. “You can make your statement now” he demanded.

Then I was asked to strip and allow a photographer to take pictures of my body, which I agreed to. (There were no indications of any accident damage anywhere.)

Officer X at this point wanted a statement written immediately, and wouldn’t allow me to get a lawyer. Originally I had been in constant contact with Mr D, but now it was past 4am, and I couldn’t get any reply from him. I became very worried. The tone had changed, they wanted a statement without a lawyer present. Officer X was very ‘insistent’.

At 8.17am I sent another message to Mr D, “Hi D, things have gone south again, at the police station, I’m still here … And still need a lawyer, can we get [lawyers name removed]? He has no answer. Z”

I then called another senior from our Rotary club, Mr E. Fortunately, he was awake already and directed me to an excellent lawyer he knew of, which I managed to get his home number and he agreed to come over immediately.

After he arrived he helped me to get the statement made (which was exactly as I have described above) and also helped me navigate the questions, most of which had been setup and copied and pasted from the updated drivers statement. (they had been copied and pasted in front of me by officer X). The questions were extremely pointed, and my answers had to be checked and re-checked by my lawyer, as the statement/ questions had been pre-designed to show me as guilty.

After the statement was finished, officer X came in and left. The officer left behind (officer G) then talked to me and my wife in private, he said, “I’m very sorry about what is to happen. This is not the way I like to do things. This has been decided from above”. I asked him what ‘this’ was. He replied, “you are to become the only suspect in this case”. I asked what was to happen to driver, “he’s to be released” said officer G.

At this point I almost broke down with despair. What was happening? Officer G seemed very compassionate. He said, “Just remember, whatever happens … look after your … aura”. Then he left.

I then realized the media had been invited to film ME, and they were waiting for ME to have an emotional reaction. I decided to stay calm and remain composed, even though I was extremely low. The media had been thanking the police officer X for letting them come into the police station and film ME.

Officer G seemed at this point the most supportive. He suggested that I didn’t cover my face and tell the waiting media the truth. I thought this seemed like a good idea. I repeated the idea to another officer who seemed more senior, who became angry at officer G. He said, “What a stupid idea”, and “we don’t want any comments like that made inside the police station”. He then looked at me and suggested I cover my head and face with a mask. I became confused on what I should be doing. I’d never been in this kind of situation, although I’d seen scenes like this on television.

Later, I was escorted into a police car and taken to the criminal court. I covered my face with my jacket and entered went into the basement. I was then delivered to a holding cell.

After many hours went by, I was presented to an investigating prosecutor. Luckily my lawyer was there, and he asked for bail which was granted. [removed]

On leaving the court house, I realized now that it was already dark again, a whole day had passed. Outside a mob was waiting, comprised of media. They drove away the taxi we’d called for. People were punching me, trying to rip my face mask off, my jackets hood was ripped off, my cap was pulled off, my bag pulled from my body, I fell to the ground. It was very frightening, being attacked by a mob and being filmed at the same time. At one point, the goading was too much, and I took a jab at one of the media who were especially confident and aggressive. My wife replied, “stop, don’t, you’ll make it worse”, so I stopped. I saw her being pushed to the ground, she was isolated from me and being stomped and jabbed with an umbrella. (Later her body was found to be covered in bruises). I became aware of a older Taiwanese lady, not a media member trying to hit me, I let her, as I assumed it must have been one of the family members. We ran back into the court house. The policemen there stated they ‘could do nothing’. I told them I wouldn’t leave unless they could get us into a taxi. Initially they insisted they had not jurisdiction outside the courthouse (despite all being in police uniform), but eventually they agreed to go out with us. This time the crowd had abated, the media already had the footage they wanted, and most had left already. When we got into the taxi we were chased around until we managed to evade them. It had been the most hellish 24 hours of my life. Even now, I still couldn’t believe how quickly I had gone from being a normal person, to someone who’d been “found guilty” by the media, and the general public. I hadn’t even been charged with any crime and there was no evidence against me. Is this what justice is supposed to be in modern democratic Taiwanese society? They might as well have had a public hanging.

[I have removed the bottom section of Dean's report, which you can probably find for yourself using Google. In it Dean states that while the video from the KTV says one thing, videos from elsewhere show another. That is why the Taipei Times was forced to run the correction above. ]
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28 comments:

David on Formosa said...

I don't think one can make any assumptions about what happened, but there are some important lessons to be learnt here. The first one is the principle of innocent until proven guilty. Sadly this is a concept that is still not fully accepted in Taiwanese society. Even worse it is frequently disregarded by police, prosecutors, judges and the media.

This brings me to the next point: trial by media. The media just print whatever they are fed by the police and prosecutors. They make no attempt to verify the facts and report in such a way as to prejudice the judicial proceedings.

The other point is the police not following proper procedures. As the statement says not all police are bad, but it only takes a couple of bad ones to ensure that a person doesn't get a fair trial or is charged with a crime they didn't even commit.

This case really shows up everything that is wrong with Taiwan's so-called justice system.

Chububobcat said...

Wow. I there seems to be a lot of underhanded things that happen here. Since my Chinese isn't good enough I don't really pay attention to the news so I don't know of any new developments in this case. But I hope that the undeniable truth comes out and that the real guilty party is punished appropriately for this crime. I have seen numerous hit-n-runs here and I personally have been a victim of 2 of them (although I was never seriously injured my scooter and my car were both extensively damaged), and even with detailed information given to the police on my part they always seem to tell me that with out other people's stories they can't do anything about it. So I wonder if there is a biased towards us foreigners here that leads to the locals being more credible than we are, or if it is just how things are.

Anyway interesting story, I hope you will put up a follow-up post for this one as things progress.

STOP Ma said...

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I haven't been following this story but after reading his statement there is one giant gorilla in the room that a lot of people are missing...

He states that he was able to remember that the driver was able to wake him up near Taipei 101 and he was able to give clear directions on what block to drop him off -- having the astuteness to not give the exact address.

However, he managed to sleep through (and not remember) an accident that involved smashing into a scooter on the side of the car where he was sitting. Very hard to believe. Especially considering the extent of the damage to the car. It must have been quite a jarring impact (regardless of whether the airbags were deployed).

On the other hand, I think people are putting too much faith in the video that is being regarded as "the smoking gun". I haven't seen the video (has it been released?), but are we so naive as to believe that the time portion of the video can't be doctored?

There needs to be clear protocols as to when video can be used as hard evidence in my opinion. Has the video been secured and sealed by a trusted authority immediately after the incident occurs, etc.?

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Michael Turton said...

STOP MA, the existence of videos from buildings across the street showing completely different things than what the KTV says implies that the KTV has doctored their video. It is a digital video and the time stamp is totally alterable.

J. Michael said...

David: I won't comment on the case, as the TT has done what it could to correct the errors in its reporting.

However, you write: "The media just print whatever they are fed by the police and prosecutors. They make no attempt to verify the facts ..."

I'm sorry, but I must disagree. We don't always do that, and try our best not to do that. Do we always succeed? Of course not.

However, in the present case, there were reports at one time — on Taiwanese TV — that Mr. Dean had fled the country. We were very much tempted to print this, but before doing so, we made sure that this was true. We called the police and asked if they could confirm. They couldn't and dispatched officers to his residence to see if he was still there. He wasn't, but only temporarily and eventually came back. We didn't write anything, because there was nothing to write about. We didn't "not check the facts" and run the story because it was sensationalistic ("Hit and run suspect flees Taiwan with second passport").

I do wonder if Mr. Dean is aware that there was such reporting on TV and if he went after them the way he went after the TT.

Anonymous said...

I've read and re-read Dean's statement. One thing that strikes me as weird is this guy is apparently a non-drinker and non-carouser, but had no problem going down that path simply to transact business.

While I believe that he's been 'set up' - dealing with something similar to the American version of Southern or Texas-style law enforcement--he certainly had a singular lapse in judgment and now he's paying the price.

Dean's also apparently not well connected enough to effectively mount his own defense, but I hope he manages to clear his name eventually.

One thing is clear, in the area of law and justice, Taiwan is still a third-world country.

STOP Ma said...

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Michael,

So there was more than one video, eh? Were the videos consistent? Have they made them public? Were the videos owned / controlled by different sources?

I thought the main evidence they had against this guy was a video -- which showed a 6 minute period from the time the KTV employee left and returned. 6 minutes, not being enough time for the employee to be able to drive him to the drop-off point and return.

One video alone is soft evidence, IMO (it definitely can be doctored). However, if multiple videos exist (controlled by multiple sources), then the ability to doctor the video successfully becomes a lot more difficult. There's bound to be gaps / inconsistencies between the videos if there was editing involved.

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Beijing2008 said...

@ David on Formosa:


The so-called "Trial by media" is by no means a problem limited to Taiwan only. Indeed, you see even more of "guilty upon assumption" in the United States and U.S. media.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but I must disagree. We don't always do that, and try our best not to do that. Do we always succeed? Of course not.

The TT (and TN, CP too) has errors on an almost daily basis. If that's correcting errors for you, then I'd hate to see what they'd be like without checking.

Anonymous said...

I would be curious to learn if Mr. A made his wealth through organized crime and if somehow this has been a set up. He sounds "shady" and operates in a very typical M.O. for a Brother/Businessman.

It sounds like everyone is not being forthright with the facts.

Anonymous said...

The worst thing in this event is police allowed mob to atack the suspect right behind court house. They claimed they don't have the jurisdiction, and who have? The basic human right of the suspect and his wife are just ignored.

David said...

J. Michael,

perhaps I should have qualified my statement a little better. It certainly wasn't directed at the Taipei Times, but was more about the behaviour of the Taiwanese media generally.

There are certainly media organisations and journalists in Taiwan that have integrity. However, there are many problems with the standards of reporting in Taiwan. Often this applies to television stations which are driven to constantly generate news around the clock. There is also great competition between stations to get the story first. There is no time to properly review what is reported.

Anonymous said...

As a professional working in the alcohol industry, I can say that the evening described by Z sounds perfectly believable in regards to how we see business conducted in TNCs (the name we give to KTVs that have hostesses).
Yes, you do get called in the middle of the night to come and drink. No, you cannot refuse.
Yes, you do have to drink as far and as much as your host is willing to go (I've toured up to 5 outlets in one night). You cannot refuse drinking.
Yes, these places are seedy and I have seen in my own eyes collision between policemen and mafia. The both of them actually offered me to go f*cking the hostesses on the second floor of a piano bar (for this reason I am posting anonymously here).

What I find surprising is that the owner of this TNC has chosen to protect his employee instead of his wealthy/important/connected customer.
Employee are expandable in this industry. They are not necessarily well treated, and the Mama-San are here to make sure that the girls follow the rules and behave. (Please not that I'm not judging anything here, but simply giving background).

Hence, this sounds like a surprisingly stupid choice from the TNC owner, and I'm certain this will have negative consequences on his business. We all know nasty stuff happen behind the doors of the TNCs and the implicit guarantee is that as a customer you will be protected.

Anonymous said...

Three big strikes against Mr Dean:

1/ He admits to taking the wheel of a 2-ton car at night while blind drunk. This seriously undermines his credibility.

2/ The decision to write off the cost of the smashed car without even asking the KTV what their valet did to it, doesn't sound like the action of a clear conscience. I don't suppose the court will be convinced by the argument that he didn't want to make a fuss.

3/ CCTV evidence that the valet was back at the KTV six minutes after leaving.

Mr Dean says other cameras substantiate his claim that the CCTV evidence was doctored. If that's so then his lawyer will have had those camera records impounded and the prosecution will be left with no case against him.

Otherwise ... he should count himself lucky to get off with a few thumps and a pathetically light 2.5-year jail sentence.

Anonymous said...

"What I find surprising is that the owner of this TNC has chosen to protect his employee instead of his wealthy/important/connected customer."

Perhaps he was a "brother" whose past service warranted assistance. Maybe he's a relative of the owner or one of the cops. In any case, that they decided to wash their hands of the problem and get back to the serious business of pushing drinks and girls doesn't strike me as surprising.

Anonymous said...

You'd think a person wouldn't submit doctor-ed video as evidence unless they could be pretty certain that there would not be any other video available that could used as evidence that the doctor-ed video was indeed doctor-ed. And with all the security cameras everywhere, how could anyone be so certain?

And wouldn't that be a huge loss of face for the police-- who apparently are already basing their guilty-until-proven-innocent investigation on the video? Makes me wonder whether the police themselves would try to destroy any evidence with the potential to "complicate" their "investigation."

--John S

Anonymous said...

I lived and worked in Taiwan for 14 years. From my experience, the judicial system of Taiwan is good, even highly developed compared to other Asian countries. Anybody who says something different here, might not have ever been accused in a criminal case in the US or any EU country. Human rights are very well protected by the judicial systhem in Taiwan, even if Taiwan police or Taiwan media are quite crazy sometimes.
In regard to Zain Dean I have three questions:
1) Why should the vidos be "doctored", as he says? Just to make Zain Dean NOT GUILTY and the KTV employee GUILTY? Media also interviewed the KTV employee, and he sounds quite reasonable with his explanations, whereas Zain Dean does not sound reasonable at all with his 1 mio media statements and explanations.
2) How come Zain Dean can explain everything so exactely, every single not relevant detail, but in regard to the relevant car drive with the fatal accident, he suddenly does not remeber anything. BEEEEEEP are we in kindergarden?
3) Zain Dean, as my friend told me is not married. He has a girlfriend, which he declares to be his wife, after the accident, to "show a closer relationship to Taiwan"? Oh my god Mr. Zain Dean, kindergarden again?
4)And the last question: ha ha. Why does Zain Dean say, a video is doctored, before its even introduced in the trail? Maybe the judge is going to use other evidences to convict / not to convict him. Claiming, that an evidence is doctored, before its even used in the trail as evidence, is reaaaaally, reaaaaallly something.
5) Hey Zain Dean, why not just cut the B&^%S***, and admit, that you indeed drove the car? Crazy media statements before any conviction are an indication of guilt.

Anonymous said...

As to Mr. Anonymous with 5 points. With a with a wife who has a law degree here in Taiwan, I would suggest that your are incorrect on point 1. Whereas the design of this ill conceived plagiarized legal system, implemented in utmost haste, attempts to combine 3 major legal methodologies in one cohesive mesh and is, in many cases, ignored by the presiding judge unless key correlations in legal code are pointed out to them before the decision, is heavily weighted to Taiwanese who can afford to navigate it.
In response to point 2, I think your point is over-exaggerated, but the question, "why didn't this accident wake him up?" is relevant.
In response to point 3, my friend told me that Elvis Presely is still alive. Do you have relevant facts related to this story or does your hearsay substantiate your guilty-until-innocent statements?
Point 4, it could be possible that his reputation was destroyed, his significant other was beaten, he was beaten and his business and partners are all affected by poor publicity. In itself, beyond stating what you think is true, it is justification to say anything.
Point 5. Your cynicism suggests that you have made a judgment to a case in which you are not personally involved. ha ha and multiple references to kindergarten almost have the lingering taste of immaturity or could it be, you are Taiwanese and have swallowed the story hook-line-and-sinker?

I make no assumption of guilt or innocence. This is a complicated case, and it would be nice to think that real justice will be served. However, it should be in the interest of the judicial system to protect Mr. Zain Dean. I would mention other high profile stabbings/deaths of people under the protection of the police. I would also mention police payoffs made from KTV/bar owners that I do see quite frequently in person. Correcting these problems certainly would make doctored videos and that ring of an all-familiar police cover-up less prominent in a persons mind when they try to get beyond 'media' coverage.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your response.
I just want to say, I read the newspaper and I read the statement of Mr. Zain Dean. I am personally, and I am just talking about myself, 100% sure, that Mr. Zain Dane drove the car and that he is a big lier.
And: Mr. Zain Dane is not married.
And: Yes, I have a Taiwanese passport, residing in US.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'd say you're correct to say that he's a big liar. That's been his job for the past 16 years - "Marketing".
I've worked with him for years and he is absolutely as shady as the media has come to believe. There is no untruth there. Not to mention that he had been or is/was an Alcoholics Anonymous member for some time.
- Ask around.

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of the foreigners who are defending Mr. Dean are, in fact, his personal friends and associates. In fact, when pushed, all of the pro-Dean contingent on Forumosa.com admitted to having some sort of relationship with him. The Zain Dean case, as it has been discussed here and elsewhere, is not about justice, innocent until proven guilty, media bias, gangsterism or police corruption in Taiwan. It's about nothing more than the accused person's friends and associates supporting him and trying to muddy the waters in such a way as to drum up support for him from the foreign community.

If any media are biased, it's the foreigner blogs and forums that are populated by Mr Dean's friends.

JJ said...

Recent (9 month) developments in the pre-trial investigation have shown that;

1. The police have withdrawn photographs that showed the KTV worker 'walking back to the the KTV' - turns out these were 're-enactments' not evidence.

2. CCTV footage clearly shows a KTV staff member last seen driving the car before the accident. The court won't release this footage into the public domain.

3. None of the 8 video cameras on the corner when the the KTV driver allegedly did a U Turn to drop off Zain Dean and come back to the KTV, show anything of the sort. This indicates that the KTV staff are not telling the truth.

4. Phone records, video records and mismatches between KTV staff statements and records show they were not telling the truth. What could they be trying to cover up?

5. Previous CCTV footage that was released by the police into the public domain that showed a hit and run accident where a man steps out of a car, sees an injured body on the road, but decides to drive off, was withdrawn by prosecutors as it was of some other accident, on some other road, at a time unrelated to this accident.

These are some of the facts that have emerged. Local media have stopped covering the story as it appears that he might be innocent after all.

I don't know what kind of guy he is, or his character as some are debating on this forum, but I thought the issue was a legal one?

As someone who has been to court in Taiwan before (unfairly charged) I know what a flimsy system they have here. Just look at the dozens of arrests of judges and prosecutors and police recently.

Anonymous said...

He has been sentenced to what the prosecutors were asking for; 2 years, 6 months.

Anonymous said...

On appeal Deans sentence as increased to 4 years in July 2012

Elly said...

I don't know if anyone will reply by now, considering how long ago this article was posted. I would like to ask if this statement has been translated into Chinese. I'm asking because of the recent fuss about Dean "escaping" Taiwan. I saw all the news stories two years ago, and, at the time, had no doubt that Mr. Dean was guilty. However, after receiving enlightening education on media bias and witnessing cases of unjust trials in Taiwan, I am now giving Mr. Dean the benefit of doubt. Especially since I saw Mr. Deans statement via Taiwan news (which, of course, was not very impartial) claiming of being unfairly trialled. If this statement has not yet been translated, I am willing to do the job. I am Taiwanese American hybrid, and thus, am fluent in both Chinese and English. I don't have any comments on whether Mr. Dean is guilty. I simply believe that both sides of the story should be told. And currently, no stories on Mr. Dean's behalf have been told in Chinese. I am willing to translate this statement if I gain the author's approval.

white warrior said...

Zane zain vain dean has been arrested in Scotland for extradition back to Taiwan where can expext additional criminal charges to be filed and he owes 7.75 million in civil damages.



http://www.appledaily.com.tw/realtimenews/article/new/20131120/295803/

Anonymous said...

It's all about money here.

Texan said...

Just wondering in the internet and wondering has English speaking world caught with this news? I am surprised to find out I have something to say about this incidence.

1. Taipei is a major metropolitan which is different from rural area such as Ping-Tung. Police in rural area tends to be older and more interconnected with local power hence more likely subject to corruption.

2. Usually the police station does not invite reporters. The reporters usually make a request, and the police station has to respond for a major case. The media involvement is a constant activity in Taipei. However, Dean made to the headline.

3. The timeline for Dean to head from Bar to his residence is critical. Without that information, it is hard to make a judgment. However, Dean was conscious enough to throw out his designated driver. He should know driving drunk is not legal right there and then, right? After Dean thrown the driver out, the driver walked back to the bar, and was taken by monitoring camera. There will be a time stamp and should be used to validate Dean’s scenario.

4. The bar must think Dean is important enough to designate an employee to drive him home, instead of calling a cab. He must spend quite a fortune there. This could be considered as his character.

5. Dean sold his damaged Merced Benz next day for around US$600, to which, it reacts to blood test, and proved to be of the victims blood. If he suspect of any wrong doing behind his back, would he takes the evidence and preserve them as much as possible, instead of get rid of them?

6. Dean gave all his belongs to ‘David’ to trade for David’s passport. Dean then used this passport to fake identify in order to exit. This, in itself, is another crime. David worked for Dean.

7. Dean claims he does not have any memory of what had happened, and is different from that of his designated driver’s testimony.

There are just too many possibilities and inconsistencies. Dean’s side should be presented as well as from all other angles in front of the law. I tend to think Dean should act like a man, go back to Taiwan to clear his name if he is truly innocent like he declared. Hiding behind claims such as ‘media prosecution’ or ‘I don’t remember’ gives the impression he has something to hide. Now he is captured. I hope the Taiwan government will give him a fair and swift judgment in front of the law.