Ugh, this one’s been going on for a while now and has not surprisingly deteriorated into a complete mess.
Let’s start at the beginning, on one fateful early alcohol fueled Thursday morning back in March 2010.
So the story goes, just before 5am on Thursday March 25th 2010, Zain Taj Dean was leaving a KTV joint and too incapacitated to drive had a valet from the KTV place drive his car (this service is offered on a tip basis).
From here things get a bit messy, however the end result was a newspaper delivery guy on a scooter being hit and run, and later dying in hospital.
The KTV valet says Zain told him to leave the vehicle shortly after leaving the KTV place and then proceeding to drive himself home.
Zain says he was fast asleep, only to be woken by the valet near his house but not recognising the man he didn’t want to give him his address and instead drove himself home (a few hundred meters).
Some other stuff happened after that (primarily the accusation that Zain tried to destroy the evidence by attempting to have the car wrecked shortly after the incident) but the above is pretty much the crux of the case.
After the case went to trial in mid 2011, Zain was found guilty and sentenced to four years in jail in July.
Rather than take him into custody right then and there though, for some reason Zain was released and ordered to show up to begin his sentence on September 21st (yeah, you know where this is going).
Following Zain’s predictable no-show, an investigation was launched that revealed Zain fled Taiwan just weeks after his sentence was handed down. This came out only recently, when four months after the deadline on January 29th 2013, the Taipei District Prosecutor’s Office finally put Zain on the “wanted list”.
Now whilst it might not be surprising to learn that Zain never showed (why they don’t lock people up straight away I have no idea), what amuses me is in how it all went down.
Using his girlfriend, Zain booked a flight out of Taiwan to Thailand. Only it wasn’t under his wife or his name, it was under the name of a friend called David.
Using David’s passport, Zain then rocked up to the airport and despite being prohibited from leaving Taiwan, left.
David is a white English teacher, whereas Zain is a black businessman. Both are from the UK, with Zain having Indian heritage (I suppose technically I should use brown but I’ve always thought the term “brown person” was a bit crude sounding).
Meanwhile you can see just how different these two people look on the photo to the right there. Yet despite the apparent obvious differences between the two, the National Immigration Agency Officer who screened him before his departure let Zain through on David’s passport.
The National Immigration Agency has already expressed regret over the incident and said immigration officials who have been found negligent in their duties will be punished.
The case has exposed a serious loophole in the nation’s immigration control.
No shit guys. Although “serious” isn’t really strong enough given the circumstances, try catastrophically negligent.
Oh and their excuse?
Asked whether Dean was in disguise when he left the country, the officer said it was highly possible, but could not be confirmed because there was no clear frontal image of Dean from cameras at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
Disguise? The hell did Zain do? Pull a Michael Jackson on the NIA?! No amount of his girlfriend’s makeup should have fooled anyone (let alone an immigration official) with two such different looking people!
And with all the CCTV set up everywhere, you’re telling me Zain boarded a plane through Taoyuan Airport and not one camera managed to catch a clear frontal image of him?! That’s some A-grade airport security right there.
I can’t help but feel money might have changed hands here as really, how can anyone who isn’t blind as a bat not see the difference between Zain and David?
Fuelling this theory, on the popular Taiwan themed forum “Forumosa” Zain described himself as “a rich foreigner” in May 2011.
In the aftermath of the scandal, Zain, who is apparently now in the UK, contacted Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and demanded three conditions be met if he was to return to Taiwan for a retrial.
1. an international human rights group should serve as an observer of the trial
2. a Taiwanese legal human rights group should also be present during the trial
3. video evidence of the accident should be presented
Why on Earth this video evidence wasn’t presented in the first trial I have no idea, but if it clearly exonerates Zain – there’s definitely some dodgy shit going on if the Prosecutor’s Office is against admitting it.
Speaking of dodgy shit,
Video evidence of the accident, which was used to convict Dean was not presented in the trials, and there were two parking lot attendants of the nightclub, but investigators decided one did not drive Dean’s car home, and avoided looking into the other,” he said.
I’m sorry what, “avoided looking into the other”?! The fuck kind of kangaroo court was this? Good grief!
As for the human rights requests, surely Zain could have requested all that the first time around? I mean he only had what, just over two years to prepare?
In any case, the Prosecutor’s Office slapped that shit down and said ‘they would never cut a deal with‘ Zain.
Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office spokesman Huang Mo-hsin (黃謀信) yesterday said that if a defendant feels a ruling was unfair, he or she should act according to the rules by filing an appeal.
And fair enough in my books. Putting the hilarity of how it happened aside, Zain has already shown a great deal of disrespect towards the Taiwanese judiciary by fleeing the country.
Sending demand letters is a bit rich without actually rocking up to face the music first. Especially when this isn’t the first time Zain’s fled Taiwan either:
During his trial, the district court also found out that Dean came to Taiwan in 1998 using the name Khala Hami, and that during his stay, he was sued by Microsoft for copyright infringement.
He fled Taiwan and was put on the wanted list after failing to show up in court. He later returned to Taiwan using the name Zain Taj Dean.
Great to see the NIA are on top of things…
Meanwhile focus has now turned to possible extradition action (lol) and hounding Zain’s girlfriend for her involvement in his escape.
Dean’s whereabouts are not known, an immigration officer told the Central News Agency, adding that the National Immigration Agency would do its utmost to redress its negligence.
Dean would be extradited if he is in a country that has an extradition agreement with Taiwan, the official said.
Unfortunately for NIA however,
Hsu Mien-sheng (徐勉生), director-general of MOFA’s Department of European Affairs admitted however (that) it could be difficult to extradite the fugitive since Taiwan and the UK do not have official ties nor have the respective governments signed an extradition agreement.
The case is of such a high profile now in Taiwan that even President Ma Ying-jeou weighed in last Friday, “expressing his anger” and declaring that ‘we’ll work hard to capture the escaped offender‘.
Yeah, good luck with that guys. NIA dropped the ball and short of Zain returning voluntarily it seems the buck stops here.
Zain’s girlfriend on the other hand was released on bail a few days ago for $50,000 TWD ($1694 USD), has been labelled “evasive during questioning” and is facing charges
potential charges of document forgery (偽造文書) and assisting the escape of a criminal, a violation of the Immigration Act (入出國及移民法).
Zain’s girlfriend is also prohibited from leaving Taiwan, but all she needs to do is find a female Caucasian friend to borrow a passport from and she’s home free.
David, whose passport Zain used to escape, is
being held in a detention center and could face charges of helping a criminal escape and document forgery.
Personally I think they should nail him. Giving your passport to a mate convicted of a crime so he can escape the country definitely deserves some jail time.
Meanwhile we’ ve got local retarded expats playing the race card:
Members of Huang’s family and netizens have been criticizing Linda Gail Arrigo, a US human rights advocate and long-term resident of Taiwan, for making remarks in defense of Dean last week.
Arrigo, who last week represented Dean in issuing a statement critical of Taiwan’s judicial system, said the case showed discrimination among some Taiwanese, particularly toward people with darker skin.
Arrigo said there was no need for Dean to return to Taiwan to face justice, prompting a sharp rebuke from Huang’s family and supporters, who said she should leave Taiwan.
In response, Arrigo said she had the right to freedom of speech and that she had an Alien Permanent Resident Certificate.
You might have an APRC love but that’s not a license for idiocy. Zain always had the option of an appeal open to him and I don’t see any reason he couldn’t have requested his human rights and video demands on application of one.
Playing the race card now is just low.
Additionally Jerome Keating, a “Taipei-based writer who supported Dean at a press conference in June 2010″ also tried to play the “foreigner card”, declaring that
there are regular deaths by scooters; and then there is Zain’s case, which of course involves a foreigner.
As spectacle ridden as cases involving foreigners in Taiwan might become, with Zain giving an effective middle finger to Taiwan by fleeing the country (on a white guy’s passport no less), can you really blame them in this instance.
I don’t care where you live or call home, nobody wants that shit happening in their backyard.
Like I said at the start of this article, what a freaking mess. One thing I’ve taken away from this though is that whether you’re going to run over poor newspaper delivery scooter drivers in your Mercedes or commit other serious crimes in Taiwan, you can never have enough caucasian friends.
Yo, where all the white English teachers at?
Update 6th February 2013 – The family of the killed newspaper delivery driver have approached the Taipei District Court yesterday and are demanding 9.31 million TWD ($315,000 USD) in compensation.
With Zain in hiding overseas, the family is hoping that the government will foot the bill ‘from a compensation fund for victims of crime‘.
Meanwhile Zain’s lawyer, Hsu Ping-yi (徐秉義), seems to be pulling all sorts of dodgy:
Dean’s lawyer, Hsu Ping-yi (徐秉義), said there had been no contact with his client in the past six months and denied suggestions that Dean was now in the UK giving instructions for his defense strategy.
Asked if his fees had been paid in full, Hsu replied that he was not clear on the details, because the expenses were handled by the law firm.
ORLY? You don’t know if you’re getting paid because it’s being handled by the law firm? The same freaking law firm you work at?
Here’s a tip son, go check your bank balance, if there’s money in there then Zain is paying you.
Hsu was previously banned from the legal profession for a year after he was caught practicing law without a license.