Following the party nominations in May, the two presidential candidates and their running mates have been under the protection of special National Police Agency (NPA) teams, an NPA official said yesterday.
NPA spokesman Wang Chih-chung (王志中) said the agency initiated its "Security Plan for the 12th Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates" on May 10 to ensure protection for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidates Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) as well as their running mates.
"The plan was launched in May because this is when two parties announced their presidential and vice-presidential candidates," Wang said.
Ma won the KMT nomination on May 3, while Hsieh received his at the end of May.
The security plan stipulates that the two presidential candidates and their running mates are constantly followed by teams of specially trained police officers responsible for the candidates' personal safety and that of their residences.
"We discussed the list of officers on the special teams with the candidates before they were deployed," Wang said. "As both Ma and Hsieh preferred officers who had served them in the past, when they occupied other government posts, officer training was quite easy."
Whenever a situation becomes too complex, the teams can call for support, he said.
When candidates are to appear at a campaign rally, for example, team captains coordinate with local police before the event, he said.
As for local police, the plan requires that all county and city police departments create quick-response units and train them accordingly to ensure seamless collaboration whenever they are required to work with the special security teams.
The security plan states that the NPA will remain in charge of security for Hsieh and Ma until Jan. 30, when they will become officially registered presidential candidates. After that point, the National Security Bureau will take over security.