National Security Bureau (NSB) Director Tsai Der-sheng (蔡得勝) yesterday said two individuals suspected of involvement in international terrorism entered the country in 2009, when Taiwan was hosting two international sport events, but authorities had sent them back immediately.
The Deaflympics were held in Taipei and the World Games in Kaohsiung that year.
Tsai told the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense that authorities had expelled the two individuals the moment they were discovered.
Tsai made the report in the wake of two incidents where explosive devices in suitcases were placed on a high-speed train and outside a legislator’s office earlier this month, and the Boston Marathon bombing on Monday last week.
Tsai said the authorities would gear up their counterterrorism measures for the 2017 Universiade in Taipei.
International sports events and activities are easy targets for terrorists and the bureau would work closely with other agencies in charge of counterterrorism and the Taipei City Government to tighten security for the Universiade to ensure that the event proceeds safely and peacefully, he said.
There are six counterterrorism units under the Ministry of National Defense, the National Police Agency and the Coast Guard Administration, he said. In the case of a terrorist activity, the Special Forces are able to coordinate and respond, Tsai added.
The principle of counterterrorism measures is to bar suspicious individuals from entering the country, Tsai said, adding that it was more difficult to locate and trace local radicals.
He said the National Security Bureau was concerned there might be more Taiwanese and young people getting involved in terrorism by learning techniques from the Internet.
More than 1,000 people in Taiwan had been listed as individuals who could threaten public security, he said.
The list includes people identified as posing a threat to public security or who have seriously undermined public order, he said.
However, the National Security Bureau boss did not elaborate on the criteria used to determine what constitutes a threat.
Additional reporting by CNA