Woman allegedly beaten to death at Taiwan temple

Woman allegedly beaten to death at Taiwan temple

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Local media Thursday reported the death of a Japanese-Taiwanese woman, with the cause of her death pointing to beatings she had possibly received during religious practices at a temple in Taiwan.

The 55-year old had been married to her husband, surnamed Nakamura (中村), in Japan for 20 years and had adopted Japanese nationality. After returning to Taiwan this October, Mrs. Nakamura participated in a series of secret religious practices in Cheng Ying Temple, located in Taipei City's Dazhi District, but was sent to the hospital after 12 days of rituals.

The paramedics that examined Nakamura informed the police of suspicious bruises she had on her abdomen, saying that Nakamura had no signs of life upon arriving at the hospital, and that the bruises seemed to be the result of severe beatings. Prosecutors called for an autopsy after receiving the information.

According to her family members, Nakamura visited the temple for religious practices in the past. The family also heard rumours from Nakamura's fellow believers that people were slapped or beaten during the practices, and believed that Nakamura possibly died due to this.

The paramedics reported that there were only specks of bruises showing on Nakamura's abdomen when she was sent to the hospital, but the specks expanded into a large purplish bruise the next day, prompting the doctors to rule out accidental causes for her death.

"The temple brought her to the hospital on their own and did not call an ambulance; the doctors called the police for us. They said that this was an unnatural death, so we hope that the temple will tell us the truth (about Nakamura's death)," said a family member. "We don't know anything about what happened in the temple, but we've heard that they slap people with their hands and some with wooden boards. These may be what caused her to bruise."

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