Fri, Nov 14, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Councilor accuses Taipei police of abuse of authority

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) yesterday accused Taipei City’s Police Department of abusing its authority by keeping him under surveillance when Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) visited Taiwan last week.

Chuang and other DPP Taipei City councilors also condemned the police for resorting to what they said was excessive force against protesters opposing Chen’s visit.

Chuang said he and fellow councilors Liu Yao-ren (劉耀仁) and Huang Hsiang-chun (黃向群) found two police officers outside his office in Shihlin last Wednesday, two days after they went to the Grand Hotel to express opposition to Chen’s visit.

“People should enjoy freedom from fear. Why do I have to be followed around by the police because Chen Yunlin came to Taiwan?” Chuang asked yesterday during a question-and-answer session at the Taipei City Council.

Ho Ming-chou (何明洲), chief of the department’s Shihlin office, denied sending police to keep the councilors under surveillance, adding that the police enjoyed the right to “collect intelligence” when necessary.

“I think you should take more responsibility for the matter than me because the rallies you held were illegal,” he said.

Chuang and three other DPP Taipei City councilors protested against Chen outside the Grand Hotel and inside the Grand Formosa Regent Hotel in Taipei last week, and were involved in physical clashes with police on several occasions.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) rejected Chuang’s accusations, and condemned the DPP councilors and other DPP politicians for damaging Taipei City’s international image with violent protests during Chen’s visit.

“I think Taipei City was the biggest loser during Chen’s visit. The city’s image was seriously damaged in the international community,” Hau said.

At a separate setting yesterday, Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) asked the National Police Agency (NPA) to conduct a review of the police response to protests against Chen Yunlin’s visit, criticized by many for excessive use of force.

Recounting Liu’s remarks made at the weekly Cabinet meeting, Executive Yuan Spokeswoman Vanessa Shih (史亞平) yesterday said that Liu had expressed appreciation and gratitude to the police for their hard work, but also asked the NPA to improve its tactics for maintaining order during rallies.

Liu didn’t specify on which occasions police handling of the protests was questionable, Shih said.

Liu also urged the NPA to take care of the more than 150 police officers who were injured on duty while safeguarding Chen’s safety, Shih said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SHIH HSIU-CHUAN

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