TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A newborn baby boy was discovered on a riverbank in eastern Taiwan's Hualien County on Wednesday (April 18) by a farmer growing vegetables, reported Liberty Times.
At 5:30 p.m. on April 18, an elderly woman surnamed Lin (林) watering her vegetable field near the bank of the Meilun Creek Xincheng Township, Hualien County, suddenly heard what sounded like a baby crying from under the Xinsheng Bridge. At first she thought it was a sound being made by the bridge, but the more she hear it, the more it sounded like the cries of a baby, so she followed the direction of the sound.
Weaving her way through farmer's fields and overgrowth along the riverbank, it took her about half an hour to find a black bag and inside was a newborn baby boy wrapped in a blue scarf, with his umbilical cord still attached. She grabbed her mobile phone and called the police.
Officer Lin Yu-hsiang (林郁翔) arrived on the scene when he picked the baby up, it seemed to realize someone had come to his aid and stopped crying.
The baby was then taken to Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital where it was found that the newborn had a low body temperature of 34.8 degrees Celsius, was covered in blood and meconium and had hypoglycemia, but was otherwise healthy. The baby weighed 3,440 grams and basic tests run on the baby showed that it had no life-threatening health conditions and was able to drink milk, however they still gave it preventative antibiotic treatment.
Police said that because the area is isolated with no surveillance cameras, it will be difficult to assess exactly what transpired, but they suspect that the baby was deliberately abandoned by a mother who is a local resident. They will begin a search of the area to try and locate the mother.
The Hualien Social Affairs Department said that this may constitute as abandonment under criminal code 294. A person convicted of abandonment can face between six months to five years in jail and under Article 102 of the Protection of Children and Youths Welfare and Rights Act, parents can be sentenced to 40 to 50 hours of parental education, with those who fail to comply facing NT$3,000 to NT$10,000 in fines.
Baby found on riverbank. (Photo from Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital)