9-year-old boy beaten by stepfather over sheep milk in western Taiwan

Battered 9-year-old boy in western Taiwan 3rd victim of abuse this week

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(Image by flickr user Taj Campbell)

(Image by flickr user Taj Campbell)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A nine-year-old boy was badly beaten by his stepfather in western Taiwan after he was accused of stealing sheep milk, marking the third major incident of child abuse reported in Taiwanese media this week.

The boy, surnamed Lai (賴), was accused of stealing his classmate's sheep milk, and was allegedly beaten black and blue by his stepfather when he returned home. The Miaoli County Government Department of Social Affairs announced today that they had been notified on Jan. 15 of the case of suspected child abuse and have temporarily resettled the boy, reported Yahoo News.

At 12:55 p.m., a member of the Facebook page Heise Haomen Qiye (黑色豪門企業) posted an image of a boy whose face was bruised and swollen. His eyes were almost swollen shut and the netizen who posted the image wrote, "A taxi driver carried him and couldn't stand it anymore, so he submitted it."

The post added that the boy's father had passed away and that "Grandpa and Grandma said that the child was beaten by his stepfather."

The Miaoli County Government Department of Social Affairs confirmed today that a case of "improper disciplining" was reported on Jan. 15. A boy surnamed Lai attending the 4th grade at an elementary school was accused of stealing sheep's milk which had been ordered by a classmate on Jan. 14.

When the boy returned home that day, he purportedly lied about the incident and was allegedly punished and beaten by his mother and stepfather. Chang Kuo-tung (張國棟), Deputy Director of the Department of Social Affairs pointed out that Lai's injuries included bruises on his face and whip marks on his back, reported Yahoo News.

Although the child may have misbehaved, the parents" behavior exceeded the scope of reasonable discipline, said Chang. Therefore, social workers intervened and the boy was taken to a foster family for temporary placement on Jan. 15, according to the report.

Following the death of the boy's biological father, his mother remarried about six or seven years ago and gave birth to two more children with his stepfather, according to Chang. Over the past two years, he has exhibited some behavior issues and his mother has allegedly been punishing him improperly, prompting the school to identify the family as high-risk and social workers have been assigned to the case.

Chang told Yahoo News that the boy's stepfather had no record of domestic violence, but "this situation is too serious." The Department of Social Affairs deemed that Lai must be assisted in applying for a protection order.

On Jan. 17, social workers took Lai to the police station to report the case and followed up to ensure his safety. At the same time, they are planning on interviewing Lai's stepfather and mother and conducing parent-child education courses.

Social workers said only when the parents have demonstrated that they understand the appropriate way to discipline their son will he be returned to their custody.

The latest incident is the third case of heinous abuse of children following news of the beating of a boy by an alcoholic father over meatballs on Sunday and the fatal tormenting of a toddler by her teen mother on Tuesday.