The Presidential Office yesterday said that it has formed a task force to examine the state of its security after a driver crashed his truck into the front gate of the office building in Taipei earlier that day.
Chang Te-cheng (張德正), 41, drove the 35-tonne vehicle into the building at 5:05am, police said.
Chang was driving the truck at 72kph and it took him five seconds to travel the approximately 208m from Huaining Street to the Presidential Office on Chongqing S Road, Taipei City Zhongzheng First Precinct Police chief Fang Yang-ning (方仰寧) said.
The Presidential Office immediately implemented security measures and informed President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who is on a state visit to Sao Tome and Principe, about the incident.
Later, Presidential Office Secretary-General Timothy Yang (楊進添) presided over a closed-door meeting with the National Security Bureau, the National Police Agency and related government branches in the afternoon aimed at strengthening the security around the office.
At a press conference held afterward, Yang said the task force would examine the security measures in place across from the Presidential Office on Ketagalan Boulevard and the Presidential Residence on Aikuo E Road.
It will then present a report on reinforcing those measures, he added.
“President Ma is paying great attention to the incident. He instructed all relevant government agencies to follow standard procedures in handling the issue and assist in the investigation to ascertain the suspect’s motive,” he said.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesman Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) yesterday said the security around the Presidential Office was loose, adding that the truck could have been carrying explosives.
DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) accused the building’s security team of neglecting its duties, saying that the system for monitoring all vehicles passing through Jingfu Gate (景福門) on Ketagalan Boulevard had failed, despite a ban barring trucks and trailers from driving into the Boai Special District (博愛特區), where the office is located.
Yang responded to the criticism at the press conference, defending the military police’s handling of the matter and saying that they had adopted the necessary measures, including closing a bullet-proof glass door to protect the front gate, to minimize the damage.
Fang said preliminary investigations had concluded that the incident was premeditated, but prosecutors have ruled out politics as a motive.
Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), who was visiting Greater Taichung yesterday, expressed regret over the incident, but stated his confidence in security officials’ ability to reinforce safety measures.
Additional reporting by Rich Chang