Taiwan: Police face heat over long hair ban

Group of Taiwanese policemen during anti-terror drill
Image caption Taiwanese policemen have to keep their hair short

Taiwan's police force is coming under pressure to end a ban on long hair among male officers, after a policeman complained of discrimination, according to reports.

The officer has apparently waged a long battle against the grooming rules but has gone public with his complaint. The Taipei Times reports that he has now received the backing of an opposition MP and rights activists.

The unnamed officer says he likes to wear his hair long because he identifies "with the female image". Democratic Progressive Party MP Yu Mei-nu believes the hair code violates civil rights and amounts to unlawful discrimination.

The officer - who joined the force five years ago - says that he finally succumbed to pressure earlier this year and had his hair cut.

The National Police Agency is reportedly ready to consider changing the rules. But it insists that there are good reasons for the ban. The China Post daily quotes NPA official Yang Ysung-hsi as saying that the sight of a long-haired policeman could confuse the public.

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