The National Police Agency (NPA) yesterday approved a request by the Kaohsiung Police Department for backup to maintain order in the city as two marches for and against Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) are to take place tomorrow.
A rally in support of a drive to recall Han organized by Wecare Kaohsiung is scheduled to begin at 1:30pm at the Kaohsiung Cultural Center on Wufu First Road and march 11.1km to Dayi Street, organizers said.
The “Rise of the South: Kaohsiung’s Glory” parade in support of Han, the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) candidate in the Jan. 11 presidential election, and his running mate, former premier Simon Chang (張善政), is to start at 1:11pm at Aozihdi Forest Park (凹仔底森林公園) and conclude at the gate of Smile Park (微笑公園) on Wenzi Road about 3.1km away.
Despite the narrowest distance between the two marches being approximately 3.8km, the department had asked the agency for backup to ensure that the events proceed peacefully, Cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said on the sidelines of a weekly news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei.
The department requested the backup in the hope that it would be prepared for any possible clashes stemming from the “highly confrontational” events, Kolas said, adding that the agency had granted the request.
Asked to comment on a remark by Han’s deputy chief campaign officer Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋) that there could be another incident reminiscent of the 319 Shooting — an assassination attempt on March 19, 2004, against then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and then-vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) — in the run-up to next month’s election, Kolas said that politicians should speak on evidence and refrain from causing tension or divisions in society.
As disinformation abounds before elections, politicians should avoid misleading the public, which would not be in the nation’s interests, she said.
Separately yesterday, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) stressed the importance of ensuring social order in the run-up to next month’s presidential and legislative elections, and ordered all relevant agencies to intervene in any possible election-related violent incidents as swiftly as possible.
Su made the remarks after being briefed by the Ministry of the Interior on an incident in which a man surnamed Wu (吳) last week allegedly placed a triacetone triperoxide bomb at the KMT’s offices in Tainan’s Houbi District (後壁).
The man was detained by police in Kaohsiung on Saturday last week following a raid and gunfight.
The premier ordered the ministry and the Ministry of Justice to strictly enforce the law and crack down on any violent activity, as some people could adopt more aggressive ways to express their opinions as the elections approach.
In related news, the American Institute in Taiwan warned US citizens in Kaohsiung about the “possibly conflicting” events, urging them to exercise caution in the vicinity of the rallies or, if possible, avoid them completely.
It also warned of anticipated traffic congestion along the events’ routes and on the Kaohsiung MRT.
Additional reporting by CNA
SURPRISE GUEST: Media reports identified the visitor as Admiral Michael Studeman, director of the J2, which oversees intelligence at the US military’s Indo-Pacific Command A two-star US Navy admiral overseeing US military intelligence in the Asia-Pacific region has made an unannounced visit to Taiwan, two sources told Reuters on Sunday. The sources, who include a Taiwanese official familiar with the situation, said the official was Rear Admiral Michael Studeman. They were speaking on condition of anonymity. After initially saying on Sunday night that it had no comment about the report, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it welcomed the visit of an “unidentified US official,” but declined to give more details because the trip “has not been made public.” Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) yesterday
SUPPORT: Reporters Without Borders said that it stands behind the legitimacy of the commission’s probe and that press freedom does not mean the absence of oversight National Communications Commission (NCC) commissioners yesterday reached a unanimous decision to reject CTi News’ (中天新聞台) license renewal application on the grounds that the channel’s frequent contraventions of media regulations showed that it has a malfunctioning internal control mechanism that cannot be rectified. This was the first time since it was established in 2006 that the commission denied a license renewal to a news channel. NCC Chairman Chen Yaw-shyang (陳耀祥) announced the landmark decision at the commission’s weekly media briefing. The commission denied the renewal request because the news channel was fined a total of NT$11.53 million (US$400,932) for 25 breaches of media regulations
AUTUMN STRUGGLE: The KMT and TPP set up stages on the rally’s sidelines, while Want Want boss Tsai Eng-meng said the DPP was curtailing freedom of speech Tens of thousands of people in Taipei yesterday took part in the “Autumn Struggle” (秋鬥) — an annual protest march by labor groups — but with this year’s focus on rejecting the government’s plan to allow imports of US pork containing ractopamine residue. “Against poisonous pork, against double standards, against a party-state,” the protesters, mostly wearing black, chanted in front of the rally’s main stage on Ketagalan Boulevard at about noon, before a parade set off at 2pm. Autumn Struggle spokesperson Lee Chien-cheng (李建誠) said this year’s march was divided into three teams, with the first team urging food safety and labor
An investigation has found no mechanical problems underlying the Tuesday disappearance of an F-16 jet and its pilot, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said yesterday, adding that it does not rule out an accident due to “spatial disorientation.” An air force F-16 jet on Tuesday evening disappeared from radar screens, just two minutes after it took off from Hualien Air Base, while the 44-year-old pilot, Colonel Chiang Cheng-chih (蔣正志), has yet to be found. Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) yesterday morning headed to Hualien for updates on the search and rescue, while giving a pep talk to Chiang’s unit,