Wed, Apr 07, 2004 - Page 3 News List

PFP to sue bodyguard for failing to protect president

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The People First Party (PFP) legislative caucus yesterday said it would file a malfeasance lawsuit against Chen Tsai-fu (陳再福), a two-star general who serves as President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) chief security guard, for failing to protect the safety of Chen and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) during the election-eve assassination attempt.

If Chen Tsai-fu were to be found guilty as charged, he could face the most severe punishment -- death -- according to the penal code. The law stipulates that civil servants or service men found abandoning their duties can be sentenced to death, life sentence or a sentence of up to 10 years.

When questioned about the appropriateness of suing Chen Tsai-fu for failing to thwart an assassination attempt that many pan-blue supporters claim was staged, PFP spokesman Hwang Yih-jiau (黃義交) said that the PFP has never claimed that the assassination attempt on the president was staged.

He said that the party only wanted to determine the truth about the events surrounding the shooting.

PFP Legislator Hsieh Chang-chieh (謝章捷) told a press conference at the legislative complex yesterday morning that Chen Tsai-fu had apparently committed malfeasance when he failed to protect the safety of the president and vice president in accordance with standard of procedure.

Instead of taking the president and vice president away from the crime scene immediately, Hsieh said that Chen Tsai-fu allowed the vehicle to proceed and then linger for a few minutes before rushing to a hospital.

"Protecting the safety of the head of state is equivalent to fighting a war," he said. "There's absolutely zero room for error in maintaining their security."

Hsieh also proposed that military prosecutors immediately arrest Chen Tsai-fu and suspend him from his duties while he awaits trial.

PFP Legislator Hsu Chang-ming (徐滄明) said that Chen Tsai-fu failed to do his job, because neither the president nor the vice president were wearing bullet-proof jackets on the day of the shooting.

In addition, the vehicle they were riding in was not bullet-proof and the driver of the vehicle was not from the National Security Bureau (NSB).

NSB Director-General Hsueh Shih-ming (薛石民) has pledged to mete out punishments to anyone who failed to perform their duties in regard to the assassination attempt.

Hsueh made the remark Monday during a legislative committee meeting where he briefed lawmakers about security issues during the campaign for the presidential election.

Hsueh said that the president's body guards should be held especially accountable for the assassination attempt. They include Chen Tsai-fu (陳再福), a two-star general who serves as Chen's chief security guard; Chang Chun-po (張春波), the security department chief at the presidential residence; Lieutenant-General Chiu Chung-nan (邱忠男), deputy commander of the Special Operations Center under the National Security Bureau; and one of the president's entourage, Lu Hsiao-min (盧孝民).

While the bureau is not authorized to punish Chen Tsai-fu, who was appointed by the president, Hsueh said that he would recommend the National Police Administration punish Chang and Lu Hsiao-min, both of whom are law enforcement officers.

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