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Fri, Apr 21, 2000 - Page 3 News List

Chen urges slow reform of police

By Irene Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

As a rush of disclosures continued regarding alleged abuse against suspects, as well as other scandals involving police, president-elect Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday he would put his full support behind a set of reform programs for the police force, but noted the reform would be achieved gradually and at a measured pace.

The announcement came one day after several Taipei city police officers were disciplined over a botched investigation of a robbery at the home of the Shin Kong Group founder's daughter.

Yesterday, another case was disclosed regarding police abuse of suspects and violations of professional ethics.

Under the tense circumstances, the president-elect paid a visit yesterday to the National Police Administration and listened to a briefing given from division heads of the beleaguered force.

Chen said he supports a plan to make the police administration independent from the Ministry of the Interior, and to be elevated to a Cabinet-level institution.

He noted, however, that the reform plan would have to be carefully planned, and carried out step by step.

"I understand the importance of the reforms, but I'm not giving a specific timetable for it. Of course we hope it can be achieved as soon as possible, but we should also be aware any hasty decision might cause even more problems," Chen said.

The president-elect also gave reassurances that there would be an increase in police force budgets to update equipment and other resources.

Local forces will also be strengthened by bringing in more police staff, Chen said.

In view of rising suicides by police officers in recent years, Chen pointed out the existing welfare system for police needed improvement and said officers' welfare needed to be taken into account.

Aside from the visit to the police administration, Chen also spared time yesterday for a meeting with his one-time prison mate, Huang Tien-fu (黃天福), a former DPP legislator and younger brother of late DPP Chairman Huang Hsin-chieh (黃信介), and invited Huang to become a senior advisor to the president.

Huang and Chen spent time in jail together in 1986 over an article they published in an opposition magazine.

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