During his radio programme on 29th March, Former Premier, Frank Hsieh, commented on the random child killing that occured the day before, stating that such structural problems have to be prevented through the collaboration between families, the society, and the healthcare system.
As the press indicated drug misuse and mental health history in the suspect, Hsieh pointed out that this would still be something the society as a whole needs to face and deal with together. Mental health difficulties are not crime but if [certain symptoms] put others at risk, then separation [into a health facility] or mandatory treatment should be considered, in the same way as treating SARS, in order to prevent irredeemable harm to the innocent individuals.
Frank Hsieh stated that drug misuse and mental illness are both structural problems for a society. There should be long-term follow up and support from healthcare, social work and education systems. Family also needs to be involved because family members may have the greatest knowledge of someone’s prior history and behaviour.
In terms of illicit substances, Hsieh shared his experience during his premiership and called for more long-term measures, as Taiwan has not introduced the most effective evidence-based treatment from abroad. Although the treatment is costly, for societal peace and stability, Taiwan should face the problem of drug addictions and consider collaboration with overseas organisations. At the moment, there is still a serious lack of specialist rehabilitation facilities, which is another worry.
After the incident, the child’s mother posted her announcements on Facebook. Hsieh stated that Ms Wang has remain calm and made announcements for societal peace, which is very moving and deserves a lot of respect. In terms of capital punishment, Hsieh believes that the society is not calm enough to discuss this issue and should do what Ms Wang suggested: give family and those close and dear to us hugs.
Hsieh also mentioned the open letter written by the DPP chairperson, Tsai Ing-wen. Tsai promised the victim’s mother that she will fill all the holes and gaps in the safety net in our society and enable those who are in the margin to be caught by this net, receiving fair education and opportunities for stable employment and a normal life. She also promised to make more effort in fighting drugs, child and adolescent safety, policing, psychological wellbeing and mental health care.