Fri, May 23, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Premier vows to beef up security

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporters

Police officers patrol a train on the Taipei MRT commuter rail system yesterday, a day after four killings on a train on the Bannan Line on Wednesday.

Photo: CNA

Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday vowed to address all the concerns over public security highlighted by the random slaying spree on a train of the Taipei MRT system’s Bannan Line on Wednesday as he called for enhanced security at public venues and on public transportation networks.

Among the concerns was the shortage of police manpower voiced by Taipei Deputy Mayor Timothy Ting (丁庭宇) when Jiang was briefed yesterday by Cabinet members with the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the Ministry of Education about proposed measures to prevent similar attacks.

Ting requested at the meeting that the National Police Agency (NPA) deploy more police officers to the city to assist with security, while Directorate-General of Personnel Administration Minister Frank Huang (黃富源) said that the shortage of police is a problem facing every city and county, Executive Yuan spokesperson Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群) said.

Huang put the nationwide shortage of police at 7,000 officers, Sun said.

Jiang also demanded that the police and prosecutorial authority determine the motive of the alleged killer at the earliest possible time and punish him, Sun said.

In the wake of the MRT killings, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said yesterday that the city government has proposed raising the quota of police stationed in the MRT from the current 160 to at least 240.

Hau told a press conference that the National Police Agency has agreed to lend support to the city in the short term by dispatching 80 special police to reinforce patrols on trains and at stations in the next two weeks.

He added that the city government would ask the central government to expand the MRT police quota, with 80 as the baseline.

Having taken the MRT to work yesterday morning, Hau said that many passengers told him that they are afraid that something similar might happen again and suggested that trains be equipped with self-defense equipment in case of emergencies. The mayor said the suggestion would be carefully assessed and considered.

Hau added that counterterrorism drills would be conducted in the MRT to prepare the system for any possible incident.

Meanwhile, Taipei Rapid Transit Corp (台北捷運公司) general manager Tan Gwa-guang (譚國光) rebuffed an allegation that there were delays in reporting and reaction on the part of the corporation during the incident.

Tan said that after the carriage’s emergency communication button was pressed, the train operator immediately informed the traffic control center, which then informed the station chief and security guards at Jiangzicui Station before the train pulled into the station.

The center again contacted the district police after the train arrived.

According to the general manager, the first district police arrived within five minutes after the report.

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