Aborigine Sentenced Three Years for Hunting in the Mountains

Aborigine Sentenced Three Years for Hunting in the Mountains
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A Bunun clergyman points out that aboriginals hunting and eating food from the mountains is part of their traditional culture, therefore the government should not punish aborigines for hunting on days that aren’t tribal ceremonies.

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Two years ago, a Bunun called Wang Guang-lu from Hairui Township in Taitung County was hunting Formosan serow (a kind of goat) and Reeve’s muntjac (one of the three rare species of deer in Taiwan) with a shotgun because his 92-year-old mother wanted to eat fresh game.

Wang was caught by the police and sentenced to three years and six months in jail. Chen Cai-yi, a lawyer from Legal Aid Foundation, considered the verdict unacceptable because, “the ruling of this case was even more serious than that of a murder case.”

China Times reports, Wang says normal pork is too greasy and makes his mother nauseous and dizzy. This is why he went hunting in the mountains with a shotgun. He didn’t expect the sentence to be this serious.

The court sentenced Wang to three years and six months in jail, saying he violated the Controlling Guns, Ammunition and Knives Act and Wildlife Conservation Act. The Supreme Court also fined him NT$ 70,000 (approximately US$ 2,138). The case was rendered last month.

CNA reports, the Taitung District Court considered the gun that Wang held to be one that he picked randomly, so it is hard to say if the act had anything to do with the aboriginal culture. It also does not fit into the definition of homemade shotguns in the Controlling Guns, Ammunition and Knives Act. The Supreme Court stood by the decision of the Taitung District Court, so Wang was ruled guilty.

Regarding hunting endangered wildlife, the court believes that Wang was hunting to feed his family, which has nothing to do with cultural festivals or cultural ceremonies, therefore sentenced Wang to seven months in prison.

Chen Cai-yi, lawyer of the Taitung Legal Aid Foundation, says she will form a team of lawyers to appeal for Wang and request constitutional interpretation.

Chen says that elder aboriginals have made it a habit eating wildlife from the mountains all their lives and it is a kind of culture. She will request constitutional interpretation through focusing on this aboriginal culture.

UDN reports, Chen points out that the Controlling Guns, Ammunition and Knives Act has already decriminalized aborigines of holding firearms. But once the case is rendered, aboriginal cultures and indigenous people will all be affected in the future.

A Bunun clergyman points out that aboriginals hunting and eating food from the mountains is part of their traditional culture, therefore the government should not punish aborigines for hunting on days that aren’t tribal ceremonies.

Translated by June
Edited by Olivia Yang

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