TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An American man was arrested last week for refusing to wear a face mask on at least four occasions over the course of one week and is now facing deportation.
Since Taiwan imposed nationwide Level 3 restrictions on May 19, face masks are required at all times when stepping outside of one's residence. However, a 37-year-old American man surnamed Boyd (Chinese surnamed 博) is facing four fines and potential deportation for allegedly violating this mask regulation on four separate occasions.
At 5 a.m. on May 29, he wandered outside to smoke and was asked to wear a mask by a police officer from Taichung's Wenchang Police Station in Beitun District, but he refused, claiming it made it difficult to breathe, reported TVBS. Police took him into the station and filed a report that he had failed to comply with the mask regulation, and he was issued a fine before being released.
Boyd smoking while being confronted by police officer on May 29. (Taichung Police Department photo)
By 7:50 a.m., he was spotted on the street again refusing to wear a mask and was handed a second fine, though he finally put on a mask provided by police.
At around 2 a.m. on June 1, Boyd went to a convenience store without a mask. In a reportedly intoxicated state, he angrily refused to cooperate with staff in using the real-name registration system and in wearing a mask.
When police arrived at the scene, they took him into the station, where he fell asleep. After he woke up, the police issued a fine for refusing to wear a mask and called his Taiwanese girlfriend to take him home.
Boyd (right) being questioned by police on May 29. (CNA photo)
On June 2, also at around 2 a.m., he again went to a convenience store to buy cigarettes while not wearing a mask. When asked by the clerk to use the identification registration system, he lost his temper and began to rant and insult store staff.
When police arrived at the scene, he also yelled at them and resisted their attempts to arrest him. After a brief struggle, four officers were able to subdue him and take him into the police station.
Police then fined Boyd for defying the mask regulation on four occasions. According to the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法), each violation of the mask law is punishable with a fine of between NT$3,000 (US$108) and NT$15,000.
Police have since transferred his case to the National Immigration Agency to determine whether he should be deported. In video footage captured at the police station, Boyd can be heard justifying his failure to comply with the law, saying, "I'm outside, there's no one near me. I can walk and breathe the air."
In another video taken on the street, the man can be heard refusing to accept the fines and saying, "COVID is not real and masks are f***ing fake."
Police arresting Boyd on June 2. (Facebook, Breaking News Commune photo)