TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Taiwanese Indigenous hunter claims that he mistook a Vietnamese migrant worker for a wild boar before he fatally shot him while hunting for wild game in central Taiwan.
Three members of the Bunun Tribe living with the Wujie (Vogai) Tribe in Fazhi Village of Renai Township in Nantou County went hunting near Nantou County Route 83 late on Saturday night (July 24). Unbeknownst to the hunters at the time, a group of foreign migrant workers was suspected of stealing timber resources in the area.
As there were no lighting facilities in the surrounding area, the scene of the incident was pitch black. The hunters were armed with homemade rifles and used headlamps to try to illuminate their way.
Suddenly, the hunters heard a rustling movement in the bush and believed it to be a wild boar. One of the hunters fired his rifle at the source of the noise, reported ETtoday.
He then heard the sound of the "prey" dropping to the ground after being hit. When the hunters moved in closer to see what they had shot, they were horrified to realize they had fatally shot a person.
Out of fear of the repercussions, they immediately fled the scene and did not inform the authorities.
At the time of the incident, four Vietnamese migrant workers were suspected to have been conducting illegal logging operations as "mountain rats," which is a term used in Taiwan to refer to illegal loggers or timber thieves. They heard the gunshot and soon realized one of their companions had suffered a mortal wound.
They quickly fled the scene and did not alert police because they had been involved in the illegal harvesting of wood from the forest at the time of the shooting. However, one of the surviving migrant workers could no longer remain silent about the death of his compatriot and called the police on Sunday evening (July 25), reported UDN.
Police located the body of the deceased Vietnamese man, reviewed surveillance camera footage, and spotted a car that had been near the location where he had died. They soon were able to identify a vehicle that had been near the scene of the shooting on Saturday night and tracked its movements to the three suspects.
Officers arrested the three Indigenous men and took them in for questioning. An autopsy is scheduled for the victim at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning (July 27).
The Indigenous man believed to have shot the migrant worker was transferred to the Prosecutor's Office to be investigated for negligent homicide (過失致死罪) and was later released on NT$30,000 bail (US$1,000). Police are still searching for the other two Vietnamese men who witnessed the incident in an effort to gather more evidence for the investigation.