Vietnamese worker’s death in a police shooting sparks protest from migrant workers

Migrant workers and labor-rights activists questioned the necessity of police shooting the Vietnamese worker

(By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Vietnamese migrant workers and labor rights activists organized a protest in Taipei against the police shooting of  Vietnamese worker and demanded a thorough investigation of the case.

On Monday, protesters gathered in front of the National Police Agency (NPA), shouted slogans and held banners declaring “police violence” and “investigate excessive use of force” to call for surveillance footage or images of the incident on August 31,to be made public. 

(Photo source: CNA)

The Vietnamese migrant worker, named Nguyen Quoc Phi, was shot dead by a policeman in Hsinchu County after he allegedly assaulted officers who tried to prevent him from committing theft and vandalism.

According to the NPA, Nguyen strongly resisted police arrest when two policemen, surnamed Chen and Lee, came to arrest him. The 27-year-old runaway worker fractured the nose and bruised the face of Lee and damaged a police baton. Police then used pepper spray to subdue the man. The NPA says  continued to resist arrest by throwing stones at policemen from an irrigation ditch while he rinsed his eyes.

While Nguyen tried to enter the police patrol car, Chen opened fire on the man and shot him nine times. Hsinchu police said they immediately transferred Nguyen to a hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

The incident led  many to question the necessity of police officer Chen firing nine times on Nguyen.

(Photo source: CNA)

Chen Hsiu-lien (陳秀蓮), a researcher at the Taiwan International Workers' Association asked for CCTV or dashboard video to prove the migrant worker was a serious enough threat to be shot at so many times by the police.

"If the exact same scenario involved a Taiwanese citizen or a Western person, would the police handle the situation in the same way?" asked Yibee Huang (黃怡碧), chief executive officer of Covenants Watch.

At the protest, 28-year-old Vietnamese migrant worker Nguyen Viet Ca (no relation) urged the authorities to investigate the case and give the family of the deceased reasonable compensation. "We are just in Taiwan to work. We want to be treated fairly and respectfully like everyone else," he said.

(Nguyen Viet Ca. front left. Photo source: CNA)

Additionally, Nguyen Duy Thong (no relation), a 25-year-old Vietnamese migrant worker was also the protest, said many of his friends are "runaway" workers because they suffered the high brokerage fees of around US$6,500-US$7,000 in combination with the long hours of works and low wages.

Chen Hung-yao (陳鴻堯), a section chief at the NPA, received the petition letter from the protesters on Monday and handed the case to the prosecutors for investigation. He promised to assist the family of the deceased and aftermath of the incident will have the Vietnam Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei to handle.