Taipei - A Taiwanese man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for letting his sick mother starve to death and her body to become infested with maggots.
Chang Chih-chiang, aged 36, was convicted and sentenced on Wednesday on charges of abandoning his mother, resulting in her death, the high court said. He can appeal the ruling.
The case came to light after Chang's wife contacted the police in August last year when she found her diabetic, bedridden mother-in-law dead in their apartment in northern Taiwan.
When officers arrived they discovered the body, which weighed less than 30kg, infested with maggots in a room littered with trash.
The coroner estimated that the 53-year-old had been dead for more than a week, and that she had not had any food for at least five days prior to her death.
Local media have reported that Chang liked to spend his time playing computer games at internet cafes, and that he ignored his sick mother even though they lived together.
Cases of abuse and abandonment of senior citizens have been on the rise in Taiwan in recent years, prompting lawmakers to propose a bill to jail adults who fail to look after their elderly parents.
People aged 65 and over account for 10.7% of Taiwan's population of 23 million, the latest census showed, above the 7% level at which a society is defined as "ageing" by the World Health Organisation.