Tue, Apr 20, 2004 - Page 2 News List

New interior minister gets grilled

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

The honeymoon for Minister of the Interior Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) didn't last very long.

Hostile legislators blasted the incoming minister as incompetent as he delivered a report in the Legislative Yuan yesterday.

Without identifying Su's indiscretions, the legislators openly doubted Su's ability to maintain law and order and whether the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) would be able to identify the perpetrator of the March 19 assassination attempt on President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮).

"I bet you won't be able to get to the bottom of the assassination attempt within one year. If you do, I promise to commit suicide. Are you willing to make the bet with me?" asked independent Legislator Chu Hsing-yu (朱星羽).

The session was meant to discuss police involvement in the pan-blue camp's April 10 rally in Taipei, which ended in violent protest and gangster infiltration, and the MOI's investigation into the assassination attempt on Chen and Lu.

People First Party (PFP) Legislator Shen Chih-hui (沈智慧), who was injured during the April 10 protest, demanded that Taipei police issue a public apology by the end of the day, complete with a press release, for causing her injuries and those of other PFP legislators, and for suggesting her driver had connections to organized crime groups.

Although the subject of the session was the assassination attempt and protest, many legislators focused instead on the robbing of Su's wife, Hung Heng-chu (洪恆珠), on Saturday.

Referring to the incident, PFP legislators questioned Su's ability to maintain order on a national scale.

PFP Legislator Lee Ching-hua (李慶華) suggested that if Pingtung was so lawless that even the family of its former county commissioner was not safe, the consequences for the country might be dire.

"What could be expected for national security under Su?" Lee asked.

"If I were able to fix the nation's security problems within 10 days, then surely I would be God," Su replied.

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