Two motor vehicle incidents renewed concern over presidential security yesterday after a man drove his sports utility vehicle into a stone planter in front of the Presidential Office Building in the morning and a woman hit a barricade near the presidential residence on her scooter. No casualties were reported in either incident.
The 39-year-old man, a Yunlin County resident surnamed Lin (林), hit the planter at about 6:42am while driving on Ketagalan Boulevard, the police said. He was not injured and was taken to a nearby police station for questioning before being turned over to prosecutors.
The stone planter, one of several erected in front of the Presidential Office Building’s driveway to prevent vehicles from nearing the building, suffered minor damage.
Photo: Chiang Hsiang, Taipei Times
The police said Lin told them he was trying to get to his cellphone so he could take a photograph while driving toward the building, and accidentally bumped into the planter.
Lin drove to Taipei on Sunday night to collect a payment owed by a client of the iron factory his family runs and decided to do some sightseeing after he could not locate the client, the police said.
He visited Liberty Square in front of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall before driving to the Presidential Office Building, the police said.
The police said Lin appeared to have no political motives, and this was confirmed by members of his family who were asked to come to Taipei to assist with the investigation.
Family members said that Lin had been emotionally unstable recently and has been seeing a psychiatrist, the police said.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was informed of the incident.
The Presidential Office issued a statement “condemning any type of violence,” adding that “the presidential office respects people’s freedom of expression.”
The scooter incident took place at about 1pm, when a woman hit a barricade in front of the president’s official residence in downtown Taipei. The police said the woman appeared to be in a trance, and they ruled the incident to be an accident.
Protective measures around the Presidential Office Building were boosted last year after Chang Te-cheng (張德正) rammed his 35-tonne gravel truck through barriers and up the front steps of the building.
He was reportedly upset by a district court ruling that sentenced him to 40 days detention over charges of domestic violence.
He was tried for attempted murder and four other charges, and on Feb. 5 last year was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison.
On Nov. 4 last year, Chen Ping-sung (陳柄菘), 60, rammed his car into the No. 3 gate of the president’s official residence to protest what he said were cases of “major medical malpractice.”
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said that perhaps the president’s office should be moved away from the city center.
“If we want peace and security in the long run, ideally the Presidential Office Building should be moved to the Hengshan Military Command Center in Dazhi District (大直),” Ko said.
He also said it was “strange” that the presidential offices were located in a building which used to be the seat of Japanese governors-general.
SOLIDARITY: A group of European lawmakers condemned China’s aggressive moves, while the foreign minister of Lithuania said Taiwan ‘cannot become a second Ukraine’ A German parliamentary delegation would visit Taiwan in the first week of October, German lawmaker Holger Becker on Monday told visiting Democratic Progressive Party legislators Fan Yun (范雲) and Lin I-chin (林宜瑾) at the Bundestag in Berlin. Asked by Fan whether he is worried about possible reprisals from Beijing, such as banning him and his family from entering China, Becker said he is more interested in visiting Taiwan, as “now is the time for democracies to stand together.” Fan and Lin also met with German officials to exchange views on digital education and governance. Investing in digital infrastructure and protecting equal rights to
As China waged extensive military exercises off Taiwan, a group of US defense experts in Washington was focused on their own simulation of an eventual — but for now entirely hypothetical — US-China war over the nation. The unofficial what-if game is being conducted on the fifth floor of an office building not far from the White House, and it posits a US military response to a Chinese invasion in 2026. Even though the participants bring a US perspective, they are finding that a US-Taiwan victory, if there is one, could come at a huge cost. “The results are showing that under
WRONG TIMING: The delegation’s trip has not only disappointed Taiwanese, but could send a wrong message to the global community, Tsai Ing-wen said Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Vice Chairman Andrew Hsia (夏立言) yesterday left with a delegation for a trip to China, drawing fire for visiting at a time when Beijing has been conducting intensive military drills to pressure Taiwan. Before boarding, he told reporters that the delegation would be visiting Taiwanese communities and students in China, and possibly meet with Chinese officials. The Mainland Affairs Council on Tuesday night said that it was not the right time for political party members to visit China, as Beijing has been conducting military exercises since Thursday last week. President Tsai Ing- wen (蔡英文), chairperson of the Democratic
‘MILITARY PLAYBOOK’: It would have taken far longer for the PLA to put together the drills had they actually been in response to Nancy Pelosi’s visit, Joseph Wu said China is using military drills to prepare for an invasion of Taiwan, and its anger over US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit is just an excuse, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said yesterday. Speaking in English at a news conference in Taipei, Wu accused China of “gross violations of international law.” “China has used the drills in its military playbook to prepare for the invasion of Taiwan,” he said. “It is conducting large-scale military exercises and missile launches, as well as cyberattacks, disinformation and economic coercion, in an attempt to weaken public morale in Taiwan.” He said the Chinese