Since President Chen Shui-bian (
The National Security Bureau's special task force that is in charge of protecting the president has strengthened its security measures, but to a degree that has brought serious consequences.
Agents, concerned for their jobs, have tightened up security to such a degree that everyone coming into contact with the president must be searched, even when no obvious reason for concern exists.
As a result, searches have been performed on city and county officials, visiting foreign leaders and even Premier Yu Shyi-kun.
The inflexibility of the new security standards has caused the government problems with diplomatic etiquette.
"For the inauguration ceremony, over 15 leaders from countries with which we share diplomatic ties flew in to attend the grand occasion -- but we did not expect that they would have to go through security measures when they attended the inauguration banquet and other activities," a Presidential Office staff member said.
"When First Lady Wu Shu-chen (
"If we consider the treatment the first lady received a serious affront to the nation's dignity, then our security agents should consider the status of foreign leaders so that Taiwan doesn't become the laughingstock of the diplomatic world," the official said.
At the opening ceremony for a new Foreign Service Institute building this week, security agents prevented even the official Presidential Office photographer from entering, saying: "No entry without a pass!"
Further, foreign diplomats had to line up along with members of the public to pass through security.
This was one of many incidents in which security agents have acted with perhaps undue zealousness since the assassination attempt.
When Chen went to Chingshan (
All participants, no matter how many times they entered and left the memorial service hall, had to line up to be checked before being allowed to enter again.
"Presidential Office staff, who had just been checked, had to go through the metal detector again even if they had only left to have a few words with someone and had come back immediately," a staff member who was present at the memorial service said.
Then, on May 4, a metal detector appeared at the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) headquarters for the first time.
The special security task force did not provide advance notice to the DPP headquarters or new chief aide-de-camp Major-general Shen Po-chih (
At an inauguration party in Kaohsiung on May 19, security personnel decided to remove VIP and media sections which were to have been located behind the stage.
The VIPs instead were placed in a location far away from the stage, and important political figures were prevented from approaching the president to shake his hand.
"The president appreciated the task force's efforts, but this turned a happy occasion into a gloomy one, and the president appeared distant to the public. Some important politicians even left midway through the event," a Presidential Office staff member said.
At a May 20 banquet at the Grand Hotel held to celebrate Chen's inauguration, security measures verged close to breaching diplomatic etiquette and making Taiwan an international laughingstock.
Security personnel set up two security checkpoints at the hotel's entrance -- one for the VIPs invited to the banquet and the other for reporters.
A passageway was left between the two checkpoints for the president himself.
According to officials who were present, Yu entered the venue through the passageway set aside for Chen.
Wu Hsin-ching (
Wu's subordinates said: "He is the premier, though." Wu said in response that even the premier had to go through the normal checkpoint.
When a visiting leader arrived moments later, the same scene was played out again.
In the end, the task force blocked the middle passage entirely and opened it again only when Chen arrived.
All VIPs who arrived after the president had to pass through the normal checkpoints.
There have been other security consequences of the assassination attempt: In addition to inflexible security measures, there is always a human wall surrounding the president when he is in public. Photographers trying to get shots of Chen usually end up photographing security personnel instead.
An official said on condition of anonymity: "Why don't we just wrap the president in something bulletproof whenever he's traveling? We could just let him out when he gets to his destination."
UNDER INVESTIGATION: Huang’s body was found just outside the bathroom and showed no signs of a struggle, and no alcohol or drugs were found Singer and actor Alien Huang (黃鴻升) was found dead at his home in Taipei’s Beitou District (北投) yesterday. He was 36. Huang was also known by the nickname Xiao Gui (“little ghost”). His body was found when his father went to check on him after being unable to reach him by telephone, and called emergency services to the house at 11am, the Taipei City Police Department said. Huang’s body, which was discovered just outside the bathroom, showed no signs of a physical struggle, and he appeared to have been dead for some time, police said, adding that no drugs or alcohol were
CONFIRMED IN PHILIPPINES: The CECC would conduct contact tracing for the migrant workers to determine if they had come into contact with elderly people or children Six Filipinos tested positive for COVID-19 upon returning home from Taiwan, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it reported a case of imported COVID-19 infection, bringing the number of confirmed cases in Taiwan to 500. Philippine authorities reported four of the cases through the National IHR Focal Point, while the other two were reported by the company that they had worked for in Taiwan. The six — five women and one man — are aged from their 20s to 40s, and worked as in-home care workers, domestic workers, factory workers and sailors in Taiwan, said Minister of Health and
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
The COVID-19 pandemic might not have originated from a seafood market in Wuhan, China, National Taiwan University College of Public Health professor Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. While many countries are experiencing second waves of COVID-19 infections, many are also lifting lockdowns to revive their economies, allowing travelers to cross national borders, Chen said. Academics have been questioning whether genetic mutations in the novel coronavirus in different countries have made it more infectious, he added. Academics from different backgrounds have conducted phylogenetic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences, he said, adding that the studies can help scientists understand how the virus spread among