solving mysteries - Business Spotlight
■ INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION DIALOGUE
Soudní lékařství je obor, který veřejnost zná dokonce i z televize. Jak ale skutečně vypadá práce
těchto odborníků? O tom se baví dva specialisté z Kanady a Tchajwanu, které přivedla dohromady
“TV shows like
CSI lead to
DR VANORA M. KEAN,
Ph.D, independent forensic
biologist, Penticton, British
Hello from Canada, Jeff! You’re the
head of forensics at the Hsin-Chu City Police Bureau in
Northern Taiwan, aren’t you? Are you working on
any interesting cases at the moment?
Actually, we’ve just solved a
highly unusual murder case. The murderer had killed
a girl, raped the corpse twice and then tried to destroy
the body by cooking it! Luckily, we were able to catch
him immediately after the crime, and so we were able
to prove he was the killer by extracting the victim’s
DNA from the surface of his penis. I believe there are
very few cases involving the collection of this kind of
JEFF CHENG-LUNG LEE:
That is impressive. Attention to detail is an important part of our job. It reminds me of a case we
had years ago in which a university professor had killed
his wife by stabbing her numerous times. He then attempted to hang himself with shoelaces, he said, out
of remorse for what he had done. In this particular case,
the question was: had he planned the murder or was it
an impulsive “crime of passion”? We found he had
planned it by looking at the distribution of blood on the
shoelaces. This showed that the knots had been tied
without bloody hands, that is, he had prepared the
noose before attacking his wife. But that case was from
28 Business Spotlight
my days of working for a crime lab. I am now an independent consultant.
LEE: We don’t have independent forensic scientists in
Taiwan. What are your casework duties?
Well, I can be called by either side in civil and
criminal cases to support or rebut the testimony of
other experts. But mostly we’re hired by the defence,
when they need an expert to review the work that has
been done by the prosecution’s expert or by the public
crime lab. There is a greater demand for independent
consultants in more serious crimes.
LEE: In Taiwan, only police officers can be forensic
scientists. In fact, because the training is so extensive —
after graduating as a police officer, you have another
four years of training in forensics — we have too few
qualified forensic scientists. For example, we need 22
forensic scientists in my department, but at the moment
there are only six of us. And I’m the only PhD in a bureau of about 1,000 people. What’s the training like in
Most forensic scientists are civilians, who work
in labs. But we do have specialized police officers called
“identification officers”, who attend crime scenes and
collect evidence. If you are also police officers, do
people trust you to be impartial?
That is a problem here. In court, the other side
might think you’re on the side of the police. But things
are changing. In the past, our section belonged to the
department of investigations, but three years ago we got
our own department. So maybe one day we’ll be completely independent of the police. Also, many people
are now interested in forensics because of the US television show CSI [Crime Scene Investigation], which is
very popular here. The Central Police University’s
forensics programme is now receiving an average of
about 1,000 applications a year, yet they’ll only take 30!
Oh, so CSI is popular in Taiwan, too? Its influence is certainly creating discussions among forensic scientists in Canada and the United States. In fact, we
call its influence “the CSI effect”.
When I joined the police, no one knew anything
about forensic science. Now, thanks to the show, victims of crime in Taiwan appear to know about the need
to keep evidence safe. They also suggest places where
suspects could have left fingerprints and DNA. Personally, I think this is where CSI has been a good thing.
KEAN: What about the argument that shows like this
also give criminals ideas?
I’ve just come back from the FBI’s Annual Crime
Laboratory Development Symposium, where we discussed this with forensic scientists from around the
world. We decided that there are many other sources
for criminals to get tips. About ten years ago, I was at
a robbery site where the victim had been tied to a chair.
He mentioned that the robbers had been smoking.
When we asked for the cigarette butts, he said the
robbers had taken them away. Getting DNA from butts
was a new technique then, yet the suspects obviously
knew about it. What do you think about these shows?
I think they lead to unreasonable expectations
about what can be done. People now expect all our
cases to be solved. And in Canada, forensic scientists
application [ pl ke n]
casework [ kesw k]
cigarette butt [s ret b t]
civilian [s vli n]
corpse [k ps]
crime lab [ kram l b] US
crime scene [ kram si n]
department of investigation
[di p tm nt v n vest e n]
dispute sth. [d spju t]
evidence [ evd ns]
expectation [ ekspek te n]
extract sth. [k str kt]
findings [ fandŋz]
fingerprint [ fŋ prnt]
forensic [f rensk]
forensics [f rensks]
graduate [ r d uet]
impartial [m p
knot [n t]
murder mystery [ m d mstri]
noose [nu s]
on call: be ~~ [ n k l]
Ph.D [ pi et di ]
prosecution [ pr s kju
rape sb. [rep]
rebut sth. [ri b t]
remorse [ri m s]
review sth. [ri vju ]
robbery site [ r b ri sat]
scientist [ sa ntst]
shoelace [ u les]
stab sb. [st b]
suspect [ s spekt]
technique [tek ni k]
testify [ testfa]
testimony [ testm ni]
zpochybnit, mít námitky proti
být v pohotovosti
doktorský titul; zde: pracovník s doktorátem
státní zástupce, žalobce,
in Taiwan want
because of the
TV show CSI ”
DR JEFF CHENG-LUNG
LEE, Ph.D, head of the
Forensic Science Section,
Hsin-Chu City Police
Bureau, Hsin-Chu City,
don’t interview the suspects — and we don’t shoot the
I should hope not! Did you know that, in Taiwan, we couldn’t testify in court until five years ago?
However, we are not called to testify often — usually
when the court disputes our findings. It certainly is a
good reason to write clear and accurate reports!
What led you to a career in the police?
LEE: When I was young, I dreamed of being Sherlock
Holmes! I think every boy wants to be a detective.
And some girls! I loved murder mysteries and
trying to guess who the murderer was.
To be honest, that’s why I like to watch shows like
CSI! It’s also a good way to switch off from work.
Switch off from work? I guess that’s something
I simply can’t do! I work from home and I’m on call 24
hours a day. Fortunately, my husband is very interested
in forensics, too. When I first met him, he would often
ask me how crimes could be covered up, and I would
say, “Why do you want to know? What are you planning?” But I’m still here after 20 years!
LEE: Oh, I think you’re safe after 20 years! My wife is
also fascinated by forensics. In fact, sometimes I think
she’s even more interested in it than I am!
Well, it’s been great talking to you, Jeff!
You, too, Vanora. Goodbye!
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