The Prosecutor's Office in Taipei on Jan 4 decided to drop charges against Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan in connection with alleged church encroachment on military land.
Archbishop Hung, as head of Taipei Archdiocese, was charged with transgressing into a restricted military area neighboring the Dazhi Catholic Cemetery between 2002-2016. Prosecutors had conducted a year of investigations after receiving anonymous complaints about the cemetery.
In his defense, the archbishop admitted that the cemetery had added hundreds of tombs and urn burial lots, and repaired the drainage system and other facilities without permission from the Ministry of National Defense.
However, he argued that he never once received any warning or fine notices after taking office in 2008. Also, that he had always reminded subcontractors to abide by the law while engaging in construction projects.
In his past five visits to the cemetery, he did not see any obvious demarcation or any military soldiers there, he added.
A cemetery supervisor surnamed Lam also testified that the cemetery was built with those facilities in 1950.
A handwritten note he kept also showed that the city government’s Funeral and Cemetery Office had told them in 2013 to repair the facilities.