Mon, Aug 21, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Taipei councilor questions new `lethal' barricades

By Lin Shu-hui  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Lin Yi-hua (林奕華) yesterday questioned the National Police Administration (NPA) over its procurement of new barricades equipped with sharp blades, saying they would be targeted at crowds joining a protest against President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) later this month.

Lin made the claim at a news conference yesterday held under an overpass located on Keelung Road where the new barricades were stocked.

Lin said that the new barricades with trenchant blades were very dangerous and lethal weapons.

"The old barricades only had wires wound around them and would not endanger people's lives. However, the new ones have blades on them and will very likely seriously hurt people attending the rally," she said, while showing that a blade on the barricade could easily cut a piece of pork.

Lin said that the NPA allocated some 1,000 sets of new barricades to the Taipei City Police Station last month.

She questioned why the NPA was using equipment that were supposed to be confined to the military and asked the Taipei City Police Station to refrain from using the new barricades when people gather around Ketagalan Boulevard to stage a protest against Chen next month.

In response, Pan Hung-hua (潘宏華), chief of the rear service division of the Taipei Municipal Police Department, told Lin that about 600 of the barricades that the Taipei police had were rusty and too old to use.

"Moreover, the budget for the new ones was allotted last year. How could we have known that there would be a rally against the president at that time?" Pan said.

Pan added that the barricades were not weapons, although they might hurt people.

"They are just like the guns that the police carry. As long as we use them appropriately, they can protect people's lives," Pan said. "The barricades are not offensive weapons, and the police will use the equipment accordingly."

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