Clashes broke out yesterday afternoon when Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators barged into Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh's (
Angered by allegations that First Commercial Bank had waived the lease on the office, KMT caucus whip Alex Fai (費鴻泰), along with KMT legislators Chen Chieh (陳杰), Lo Ming-tsai (羅明才) and Luo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) and party supporters entered the office building at approximately 4pm.
Minister of Finance Ho Chih-chin (
PHOTO: NICKY LOH, REUTERS
The group made its way past security guards and up to the campaign office on the 13th floor.
Police from Taipei Police Headquarters' Zhongshan Precinct were called in to maintain order after verbal and physical clashes took place between the KMT lawmakers and Hsieh supporters.
Fai sought refuge in a police car after being punched on the chin, while Lo fled the scene on foot. Angry Hsieh supporters dented the roof of the police car and cracked its windscreen.
Hsieh Hsin-ni (謝欣霓), a spokesperson for Frank Hsieh, suffered minor injuries during the skirmish.
Shouting "thief" and "criminal," Hsieh's staff urged the police to arrest the KMT legislators, claiming they might have stolen classified election documents.
Campaign manager, Lee Ying-yuan (
"We haven't seen such violence in the run-up to an election for decades," he said. "This is the world's biggest election scandal. The KMT is using this shameful act to divert public attention from the scandal surrounding [KMT presidential candidate] Ma [Ying-jeou,
Lee said he told the crowd gathering outside the campaign office that the KMT legislators had interfered with the election and endangered the safety of a presidential candidate.
Hsieh spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (
Cheng said the legislators had trespassed and that the office was lawfully leased.
The crowd did not disperse until approximately 7pm.
Ma condemned the violence last night and expressed his regrets when asked to comment on the clash.
"I hope that similar incidents will not happen again in the next 10 days, so that we can have a clean and peaceful election -- it's very important for the development of Taiwan's democracy," he said.
Ma later offered an apology after learning that the conflict was sparked by KMT lawmakers attempting to enter Hsieh's campaign office without permission.
Hsieh's campaign said it would file a lawsuit against the lawmakers for forcible invasion and violations of the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Law (總統副總統選舉罷免法).
The legislators said that they would file lawsuits against Hsieh's campaign staff for violating their personal liberty.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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