Opposition parties yesterday accused the National Security Bureau (NSB) and the police of breaking into a hotel room near Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to expel people they suspected would protest against China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍), saying the act was a serious violation of human rights and an abuse of power.
Members of Democracy Tautin who checked into room No. 649 of the Novotel Hotel near the airport accused the bureau and the police of breaking into their room without a search warrant yesterday morning and ordering them to leave prior to the Zhang’s arrival.
“We condemn the act, which infringed on human rights and abused state power. The [President] Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) administration should not have taken away people’s freedom of expression and their liberty of movement,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) told a press conference. “Taking such action at an international hotel is reminiscent of the Martial Law period and tarnishes the country’s image.”
DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) questioned how the bureau had known the members had checked in at the hotel and the room where they were staying.
“You cannot conduct a raid or an arrest even if you consider planning a protest preparation for a crime,” Lee said.
The DPP caucus will report the case to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office, DPP caucus chief secretary Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) said.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) spokesperson Charles Chen (陳以信) yesterday said that the DPP and “some of the civic groups” accusing the state of abuse of power in the Novotel incident are “deliberately distorting the facts.”
Chen denied that the police and national security agents broke into the hotel room.
He called the civic groups who made the allegations “misleading” and said the DPP spread rumors without fact-checking and was “trying to fabricate opposition in society, an attempt that reveals its intention to cause social unrest.”
Chen said the the hotel had reported the checked-in rooms having more occupants than they were supposed to and the entry of “unidentified people” into the rooms and the emergency staircase, and that police had only accompanied hotel staff.
“The facts indicate that all those who went into the room were hotel employees and they did so with legitimate justification. There was no abuse of power by the state apparatus or the police pretending to be hotel staff to break in,” he said. “This is not the first time that the DPP has distorted the facts to smear people and this time they are even trying to incite social disputes. Shouldn’t they apologize to society?”
However, DPP Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) said that while the Novotel Hotel said it called police in accordance with the Regulations for the Administration of Hotel Enterprises (旅館業管理規則), the origin of the regulations — the floating population registration regulation — had been abolished in 2008 by the National Police Agency.
The Regulations for the Administration of Hotel Enterprises stipulates that hotels should report information on lodgers to the local police department daily and report any “forcible taking of lodging without presenting proper identification documentation.”
In other news, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Secretary-General Lin Chih-chia (林志嘉) yesterday said TSU officials and supporters were beaten by unknown assailants they suspected could be gang members when the party protested against Zhang earlier yesterday.
“It seems to us that gangs are governing the country and the police simply ignore it,” Lin said.
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Passengers arriving at Taoyuan International Airport will find that most entrances to both terminals have been sealed off as part of its COVID-19 prevention efforts. Follow the signs and directions posted on the doors to find the nearest entry point. The airport has installed infrared cameras and thermometer guns at all open entrances, and all persons with a temperature of over 37.5 degrees Celsius are prohibited from entering the terminal. In addition, staff will take the temperature of those checking in to their flights in advance at Airport MRT stations A1 and A3. In accordance with the Centers of Disease