Thu, Jun 10, 2010 - Page 1 News List

Ma sets deadline for NPA reform

GANGSTER TIESThe NPA chief’s offer to resign has twice been rejected. Meanwhile, the DPP said Taichung Mayor Jason Hu must take responsibility for a recent crime wave

By Mo Yan-chih and Vincent Y. Chao  /  STAFF REPORTERS

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday gave the Ministry of the Interior and the National Police Agency (NPA) a month to present solid results on crime-fighting and police integrity.

Ma, speaking in his capacity as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman, also ordered Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and local government heads to hold monthly meetings on public order.

“The ministry and the NPA must do a better job combating crime and improving police integrity. I need the two agencies to present solid results in a month and respond to public concerns,” Ma said at KMT headquarters.

His remarks came as concern grows about ties between police and organized crime, after the shooting of alleged gang leader Weng Chi-nan (翁奇楠) on May 28. Four Taichung police officers were at the scene but failed to intervene.

The scandal has undermined Taichung Mayor Jason Hu’s (胡志強) approval ratings and prompted him to fire Taichung police chief Hu Mu-yuan (胡木源).

Minister of the Interior Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) gave a briefing on the ministry’s efforts to solve the shooting and improve police integrity. He said the ministry was determined to improve integrity and said it would do its best to improve social order, including seizing illegal firearms and preventing violent crimes.

He confirmed reports that NPA Director-General Wang Cho-chiun (王卓鈞) twice offered to resign over a recent crime wave in Taichung and poor police integrity, but said he did not accept his resignation.

“The government needs Wang to help us combat crime and improve police integrity. For the moment, I will not consider his resignation,” Jiang said.

The NPA has dispatched a 41-member SWAT team to Taichung to help maintain public order.

Ma called on the ministry to draw up detailed regulations governing integrity — including providing a list of places police should not be allowed to visit.

“Attending birthday celebrations of a gang leader’s father, for example, is inappropriate. Police and civil servants should behave more cautiously,” Ma said.

He said the ministry should conduct regular polls to gain a better understanding of residents’ views on public order, as public sentiment on the overall environment should be more important than statistics on public order.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said Jason Hu should take responsibility for the crime wave.

Jason Hu had managed to deflect criticism by using police as a scapegoat in covering up his own responsibility for the issue, DPP spokesperson Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said.

“Both Mayor Hu and the central government washed their hands of the incident in record time. But the fact is, it’s not just a police matter, it’s a political issue,” he said.

“Mayor Hu must take ultimate responsibility for Taichung’s public safety problems and for the breakdown in police discipline,” Tsai said. “He should apologize to Taichung residents immediately.”

However, he stopped short of calling for the mayor’s resignation, saying such a decision would have to be made by Taichung voters in the year-end elections.

The DPP’s candidate for Greater Taichung, former DPP secretary-general Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全), said both the city government and the central government have sought to avoid taking responsibility over the affair.

“It’s definitely not beneficial to Taichung’s overall public safety,” Su said.

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