Sat, May 17, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Meeting decides to implement stricter security

RESTRICTIONS The Poai Special District will in future be policed with a new set of strict security measures to prevent a repeat of Thursday's blast

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Presidential Office yesterday morning called an emergency meeting to discuss measures over tightening security in the Poai Special District, after a truck loaded with gasoline cans slammed into the Ministry of Transportation and Communications building on Thursday.

The meeting was attended by senior officials from the Ministry of National Defense, the National Police Administration and the National Security Council.

They agreed to place a restriction on private vehicles using the roads surrounding the presidential complex, starting on June 1.

"In the future, private vehicles without identification shall not be allowed to enter this area, while official vehicles need to be checked by security guards before entering the government district," Presidential Office spokesman James Huang (黃志芳) said.

The central government will meet with the Taipei City Government to set up a restriction plan for the Presidential Office.

A truck carrying cans filled with gasoline slammed into the front of the main building of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications in the heart of the government district Thursday night.

The explosion killed the driver and damaged the first and second floors of the building.

Huang said that the government has made an initial plan and details of the restrictions will be released after discussions with the Taipei City Government.

The roads that will be affected include Chungching South Road, Poai Road, Kuiyang Street and Paoching Road.

"According to regulations, trucks are not allowed to enter Poai District," a source from the Presidential Office said, adding that the government would initiate a thorough investigation into the matter, to be finalized and reported on as promptly as possible.

While the authorities announced better security around the government district, another driver made it into the district with his truck easily to pay tribute to Wu Kuai-chin (吳桂慶).

A middle-aged man, surnamed Tai, arrived in the district at around 8pm last night. He drove a blue Ford van around the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the Presidential Office, loudly playing the Communist Party's anthem from speakers mounted on his van.

On his van was hung a banner that read, "Grief! Wu Kuei-chin the hero. He led a hard life while alive, and died a courageous death."

Tai stopped right in front of the ministry after driving around the district for about five minutes. Then he took out a table, incense sticks, candles and paper money to worship Wu. He was joined by three or four old men who were in the vicinity.

Tai did not encounter any opposition during the entire process.

The police did not arrive until a couple of minutes after Tai set up the table, and they did not chase him away immediately either. He left after a standoff with police that lasted 30 minutes.

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