Wed, Jun 04, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Officials limited to one bodyguard each: Liu

OverworkedThe premier said that the practice of assigning police as bodyguards had only added to the burden of an already short-staffed National Police Agency

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) said yesterday that government officials would be limited to one bodyguard each except in extraordinary cases.

Liu made the remarks in response to a question by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lee Ching-hua (李慶華) on the legislative floor.

The unnecessary allotment of police to serve as bodyguards for government officials has increased the workload for a national police force that is already short-staffed, Lee said.

Following the recent controversy over the alleged abuse of bodyguards assigned to officials, two government officials said yesterday they had given up their bodyguards.

The Government Information Office (GIO) issued a press release saying that the bodyguards of Shih Su-mei (石素梅), head of the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, and Jiang Yi-hua (江宜樺), head of the Research, Development and Evaluation and Evaluation Commission, had been transferred back to the National Policy Agency.

Out of the 36 Cabinet-level agencies, 15 heads of the departments were assigned bodyguards, the GIO said.

“[The KMT government] has reduced the use of police as bodyguards. More than 40 bodyguards were assigned to officials in January when the [Democratic Progressive Party was in power.] That number has been reduced to 20 after May 20,” Liu said.

Jiang said he didn’t ask for a bodyguard but followed the practice started in 1999 as his predecessor Jay Shih (施能傑) told him that he may encounter some problems when inspecting state-owned firms.

Liu said the Cabinet would conduct a review of the matter to make sure only officials who have security concerns are assigned bodyguards.

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