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30th Jun 2021

Boy thrown 27 times in a judo class dies aged seven

Charlie Herbert

The boy suffered a severe brain haemorrhage after the judo class in April.

A seven-year-old boy in Taiwan who was thrown to the floor 27 times during judo practice has been taken off life support and died.

The boy, who has not been named, had been in a coma for nearly 70 days after suffering severe brain haemorrhaging as a result of the judo lesson.

In the class on 21 April, both his classmate and coach practised their throws on him. The coach, who is in his late 60s, has been charged with physical assault resulting in serious injury and using a minor to commit a crime. He has only been identified by his surname Ho, and was released earlier in June on bail.

Now that the boy has died, prosecutors will be changing his charge to that of “injury causing death,” according to local media.

The BBC reports that if Ho is found guilty he could face anything from seven years in prison up to a life sentence.

The young boy had been taken to the judo lesson by his uncle. The uncle filmed the class to show his mother that judo was unsuitable for him. The video reportedly shows the boy being thrown several times by his older classmate. He can be heard screaming in the video, but is ordered by his coach to stand up, with the coach ordering the older boy to continue throwing him.

The coach then throws the boy himself, before the boy eventually passes out. His family say that the coach accused him of faking unconsciousness.

It has since emerged that the coach was unlicensed.

The boy’s uncle has been criticised for not intervening in the class, but it is thought that he didn’t intervene due to the long-standing notions of respect and reverence for teachers in Taiwanese culture.

The boy’s told reporters that his uncle felt “terrible for what happened”.

His mother said: “I still remember that morning when I took him to school.

“He turned around and said, ‘Mama goodbye’. By night, he had become like this [on life support].”

After his blood pressure and heart rate levels dropped on Tuesday, doctors at the Fengyuan Hospital spoke to the boy’s family, with the family agreeing to have his life support withdrawn.