Police take custody of boy aged 12 stored from society

New Taipei City authorities broke into a house in Yonghe District (永和) last week to take a 12-year-old boy who was kept out of school and isolated from society.

The boy, who has lived with his father since he was two years old, never went to school and was isolated from the outside world, Chang Ching-li (張錦麗), commissioner of the New Taipei City Social Services Department, said on Friday.

The child’s physical well-being is a real concern as he weighs only 19 kg, is 1.1 m tall and has only 12 teeth, Chang said.

Five years ago, when the boy didn’t go to elementary school but ignored communications, the authorities wrote to the father, Chang said.

Social services were involved in November 2019 and sought the support of the local prosecutor and police shortly thereafter.

The father made frequent trips abroad and owned a number of apartments, but the police located him and ordered him to report to the local prosecutor in October last year, the department said.

However, after meeting with prosecutors, the father changed his son’s household registration in Pingtung County to hide from New Taipei City authorities.

When the authorities learned that the tactic was a trick, they found the child in an apartment in Yonghe on Tuesday.


When the police broke into the home, the child was alone and, despite the cold temperature, was sitting on a sofa that was covered with a thin blanket.

The residence had an unpleasant odor and was poorly maintained, Chang said.

The boy’s care and living conditions were found to affect his physiological development and he was immediately taken into custody, he added.

The father disagreed with the department’s determination and applied to the local court on Wednesday for the boy’s return.

Media reports quoted the father as saying that he had kept his son, who was born with cerebral palsy, out of school in order to “protect” him and prevent him from being “bullied”.

The court denied his petition, citing the poor living conditions in which the boy was found and the father’s failure to allow him to go to school.

The court said the boy did not appear to be properly fed.

Ou Jen-hao (歐 人 豪), head of the New Taipei City Education Department, is about to file an application to extend the boy’s internship in a care facility.

The boy’s physical and mental development will be assessed by the education department, Ou said, adding that he would be divided into classes based on his level of education.

The city government said that keeping the boy in custody was a last resort and that the social workers would continue to seek the father’s cooperation and understanding.

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