Pubdate: Tue, 16 Apr 2002
Source: Taipei Times, The (Taiwan)
Copyright: 2002 The Taipei Times
Author: Brian Rawnsley
Note: Some characters representing Taiwanese spelling of proper names have
been removed because of incorrect translation into English characters.
Bookmark: (Ecstasy)
Bookmark: (Drug Raids)


I found your article featuring Wang Shih-Chien criticizing Taipei Mayor Ma 
Ying-jeou's  crackdown on ecstasy ("Councilor shaking his head over Ma's 
ecstacy crackdown," April 9, page 1) interesting. I like to go out dance in 
nightclubs (without using drugs) and I have witnessed Ma's tactics and am 
also very critical of them.

On Christmas weekend, police raided a popular club and took all 300 people 
there down to the police station for urine testing. These people appeared 
on national television, had their faces on the front page of your paper the 
next day, and had to wait up to 10 hours at the police station on a Sunday 
morning for urine tests, when they probably really needed a good sleep.

Not a pleasant experience, but was it perhaps what drug-users deserve?

Well only about 20 of those 300 people tested positive for drugs. That's 
about 7 percent. So 93 percent had to endure this humiliating treatment and 
perhaps be branded as "drug users" by their families or employers who saw 
them on the news, for no more of a crime than going out dancing during 

Taiwan hasn't had a problem with ecstasy for long, so perhaps the 
government doesn't have the experience of other governments where it is 
realized that arresting the users does nothing to solve the problem. You 
need to go after the dealers and producers and the gangs behind them.

On the other hand, perhaps Ma doesn't really care about that. It seems to 
me more likely that he just wants to catch the big headlines. This smacks 
of the same sort of sensationalist policing that attempts to tackle 
prostitution by hauling hotel-goers out of their rooms; or tries to tackle 
bad driving by the mass-fining of "red light right- turning" motorcyclists.

It's easy for the police to get their numbers and it makes the news, but 
does nothing to solve the problem. What's more, it's a grave abuse of 
police power and a transgression of human rights to (apparently illegally) 
detain and search the innocent 93 percent to catch the guilty remainder.

Brian Rawnsley, Taipei
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