Law enforcement personnel nationwide seized 2,213 illegal firearms during raids conducted over the past year as part of efforts to prevent violence from marring the Jan. 14 presidential and legislative elections.
According to statistics released by the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office on Friday, since the National Police Agency launched its first nationwide crackdown on illegal firearms in February last year, the police have pursued 1,860 cases involving the illegal possession of firearms and detained 1,805 suspects.
During the latest operation, which began on Nov. 11, 225 suspects were detained in connection with illegal firearms possession, the statistics showed.
The nationwide crackdown on weapons was initiated last year by Prosecutor-General Huang Shyh-ming (黃世銘), who pledged to do his utmost to prevent violence from tainting the elections.
“A shooting on the eve of the presidential election in 2004, and one before the municipal mayoral elections in 2010, have shamed Taiwan’s democracy,” Huang said.
He was referring to the shooting of then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) during their re-election campaign in 2004, and an incident in 2010, when former vice president Lien Chan’s (連戰) son, Sean Lien (連勝文), was shot in the face while stumping for a city councilor candidate in then-Taipei County. An innocent bystander was killed in the second incident.
To prevent more shootings, law enforcement personnel nationwide were instructed to crack down on violent crime and election gambling in the run-up to the Jan. 14 elections.