updated 17 May 2012, 12:53
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Mon, Feb 06, 2012
China Post/Asia News Network
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Taiwanese actress Makiyo apologises after taxi beating

Taiwanese singer and actress Makiyo teared up and broke down as she apologised to the taxi driver beaten up by her Japanese friend, yesterday, accompanied by her mother.

Makiyo and the taxi driver's family held different explanations to how the conflict had stirred and the fight had resulted, and her friend might be subject to legal charges as the taxi driver was seriously injured and remains in a hospital intensive care unit.

Takateru Tomoyori, a Japanese friend of Makiyo, was ordered not to leave Taiwan Saturday after he was arrested and charged with causing bodily harm to a taxi driver following a dispute.

Tomoyori was arrested Friday after striking a taxi driver, surnamed Lin, who suffered serious head injuries, two fractured ribs, a brain hemorrhage and concussion after being struck.

Tomoyori was then released on bail of NT$50,000 (S$2,110). The case has been transferred to the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office.

Local media reported that the incident occurred after taxi driver Lin asked Tomoyori to buckle his seat belt, with Tomoyori reportedly refusing.

Makiyo, who rode in the taxi with Tomoyori, held a Saturday press conference along with Tomoyori to claim they had worn their seat belts while in the taxi and charged that the taxi driver touched Makiyo's breast when returning change to them which led to Tomoyori's attack on Lin. The language barrier also played a role in the dispute, Makiyo added.

Tomoyori speaks Japanese, while Makiyo speaks both Mandarin and Japanese.

Lin's family has since refuted these claims, charging that Makiyo did not even pay the taxi fare, let alone have any change returned to her.

The 27-year-old actress said yesterday that she was intoxicated at the time of the incident and was still confused during the Saturday press conference. She was really sorry for the damage done to driver's family.

Police said Makiyo's claim that Tomoyori was attacking Lin to protect her might not be proven true since many passers-by witnessed the incident, reporting that Tomoyori knocked Lin to the ground and Lin had not fought back.

Huang Mou-hsin, Taipei's deputy chief prosecutor, said in light of the severe injuries suffered by Lin, prosecutors will seek to determine whether the case should be handled as an offense causing severe bodily harm.

Meanwhile, an official statement released on Makiyo's Facebook page Saturday has caused a stir among netizens.

In the statement, Makiyo said that she apologized for the incident causing attention in the media and for wasting social resources. "As I am not the one involved in the case, I cannot comment on it," read the statement.

Many netizens criticized the statement, saying if Makiyo was not involved in the case, it was then not possible that the driver had harassed her, as she said.

"I guess what they wanted to say was they had the right to hit people because she was harassed," noted a netizen on Makiyo's Facebook page.

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