A seven-year-old boy has tragically died after he was allegedly slammed to the ground 27 times during a judo class in April.
The youngster, known only by his nickname Wei Wei, reportedly had his life support turned off by his parents eight weeks after he had been left brain dead and in an induced coma.
The boy’s coach, who is in his late 60s, has now been charged with physical assault resulting in serious injury and using a minor to commit a crime, according local news outlets in Taiwan
The coach, identified only by his surname Ho, was earlier this month released on bail.
But, upon the victim’s death, prosecutors could change his charge to that of “injury causing death”, BBC reports.
If found guilty, he could face anything from a minimum of seven years in jail up to life imprisonment.
It comes just eight weeks after the alleged incident initially came to light via footage of the disturbing ‘training’ which showed the boy being thrown onto a mat over the shoulder of an older classmate.
The boy had allegedly begged for mercy during the cruel battle, at a gym in Taiwan, but his coach told him to continue.
In the agonising clip, Wei Wei can be heard screaming, “my leg”, “my head” and “I don’t want it!”, but despite his protests, the instructor orders him to stand up and callously commands the older boy to continue throwing him.
As the stricken seven-year-old struggles to stand, the coach picks him up and throws him several more times.
The child then vomits – but the sick judo class doesn’t stop.
His family alleges he was thrown more than 27 times during the incident.
Wei Wei eventually passed out after the relentless assault and was taken to hospital where doctors found he had suffered severe brain haemorrhaging.
He had only started taking judo classes two weeks prior to the alleged incident, after pleading with his parents to let him try out the martial art in April, according to reports in Taiwan.
“I still remember that morning when I took him to school,” his mother told the BBC.
“He turned around and said, ‘Mama goodbye’. By night, he had become like this.”
On Tuesday at 21:00, the Fengyuan Hospital announced that his blood pressure and heart rate levels were dropping.
After doctors spoke to his family, they agreed to withdraw life support.
Ho had initially denied any wrongdoing, but was later found to be an unlicensed coach who had lied about his qualifications.
It has promoted calls for harsher action to be taken against the coach and for compensation to be given to the boy’s parents.
Coach was ‘out of control’
Ho was initially released by the district prosecutor following questioning, who accepted his explanation that the incident was merely part of “normal training”.
But the decision was reversed after Wei Wei’s family held a news conference.
The court later announced there was evidence to suspect that the coach may have committed a serious crime.
After highlighting the risk of collusion with witnesses, Ho has been detained and placed under incommunicado detention – where an individual is denied contact with anyone except his lawyer.
The Wei Wei’s family have vowed to “seek justice”, as his parents remain by his bedside with slim hopes of their son’s survival.
“When I visit him at hospital, I talk to him,” Mr Huang, Wei Wei’s father said. “I want Wei Wei to hear that we are waiting for him to wake up.”
Alarmingly, there were a number of adults present at the judo studio who witnessed the incident, including the young boy’s maternal uncle, who accompanied his nephew to the classes each time.
His uncle reportedly filmed the video, to show Wei Wei’s mother the sport may not be suitable for him.
The coach allegedly told his uncle that Wei Wei was faking unconsciousness before telling his father the youngster had intentionally fell hard on the mat.
Wei Wei’s mother later told reporters that his uncle felt “terrible for what happened”, it was reported.
The case raises concerns regarding the strictness and force used by authority figures towards children in Taiwan.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission
Originally published as Boy thrown 27 times in judo class dies