Wed, Apr 04, 2007 - Page 3 News List

DPP city councilors tear into Ma over city police guards

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors yesterday urged former Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to apologize to Taipei residents for "abusing" municipal resources, accusing him of breaking his promise to return personal guards to the Taipei City Police Department after leaving his post.

Based on the department's safeguard service dispatch regulations, security personnel assigned to protect the mayor should report back to the department three months after the mayor leaves his post.

"Three months after Ma left the city government, there are still two police officers serving as his guards. Ma had promised not to use any municipal police as guards after leaving, but that's just a big lie," DPP Councilor Lee Chien-chan (李建昌) told a press conference at the city council.

Ma, who was also chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), currently has two guards, both of whom are police officers assigned to him when he served as city mayor.

While both Ma and the KMT had decided to hire private body guards to protect Ma after the three-month deadline, Ma applied with the department on March 20 for police protection, the department confirmed yesterday.

Huang Chin-fu (黃清福), a division chief in the department, said the regulations stated that aside from government officials, anyone with concerns about public their safety are entitled to apply for police protection and the department would decide whether or not it should dispatch guards.

"As a political figure, Mr. Ma does have personal safety concerns in public, and we believe it is necessary to protect Mr. Ma's safety," Huang said.

Huang said the department had voluntarily sent six police officers to protect Shih Ming-teh (施明德) -- leader of the campaign to oust President Chen-Shui-bian (陳水扁) -- during the height of the protests. As such, the department may still consider providing Ma with guards even if he did not apply for protection.

"We can't afford the huge social cost if anything happened to public figures like Mr. Ma," Huang said.

DPP Taipei City Councilor Huang Hsiang-chun (黃向群), however, continued to condemn Ma for failing to carry out his promise.

"Even though it's legal to do so, Ma still owes Taipei residents an apology for breaking his promise," he said.

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