Sat, Jun 16, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Man sets fire to Chen's Minsheng residence

DAMAGED CANOPY Police said that the suspect, a 32-year-old cook who threw a tank of gas and set the residence's canopy on fire, likely suffers from mental illness

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Police arrested a man on suspicion of setting part of a residence owned by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in Taipei on fire yesterday.

The suspect, a 32-year-old cook named Hsu Li-sheng (徐禮聖) from Hsinchu City, allegedly threw a gas tank at the house, causing the canopy in front of the residence on Minsheng E. Road to catch fire.

Security guards at the residence in Taipei were able to extinguish the fire in about 10 minutes.

Hsu refused to say why he tried to set the house on fire. It was the first ever case of arson at the president's Minsheng residence.

Police said they suspected the man may be suffering from some mental illness and was dissatisfied with politics.

Retracing Hsu's movements, they said that Hsu took a taxi from Hsinchu City yesterday morning, carrying a gas tank and a knife to the Minsheng residence, and later set the place on fire by lighting the tank and throwing it at the house.

The security guards later put out the fire and caught Hsu at the scene before the arrival of firefighters and more than 40 police officers.

In response to the incident, the Presidential Office issued a statement later yesterday, saying the president had been informed and that he appreciated the police's efforts in catching the suspect.

The president also expects the police to wrap up the case as soon as possible to ensure public safety, the statement added.

The first couple currently live in the Yushan Residence (玉山 官邸), the official presidential residence. Chen's daughter Chen Hsing-yu (陳幸妤) and her husband Chao Chien-ming (趙建銘) moved out of the Minsheng residence last year.

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