Wed, Nov 19, 2014 - Page 2 News List

2014 ELECTIONS: Taichung beefs up security for mayoral campaign

By Tsai Shu-yuan, Su Meng-chuan and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporters

Greater Taichung police officers on Saturday demonstrate bulletproof shields to be used as part of efforts to protect mayoral candidates.

Photo: Su Meng-chuan, Taipei Times

In a precautionary move against potential election violence, the Greater Taichung Police Department said it has upgraded its protective measures for the municipality’s mayoral candidates, including the purchase of four new bulletproof vests.

Greater Taichung 5th Police Precinct Chief Chen Chao-lung (陳朝龍) said the protective wear is usually rolled up and carried around in a configuration that resembles a briefcase.

“It looks like an ordinary briefcase, but when unrolled, it becomes a flak jacket. This is the highest-security protective wear available, equivalent to that provided for the president,” Chen said.

He said that the four vests were purchased this month, each costing NT$32,000, and are to be distributed to Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), and his rival, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍).

The protective vests first came into public view when security officers accompanying Hu and Lin were seen carrying two black “briefcases” during the official televised debate between the candidates on Saturday.

“Purchase of the flak jackets was based on procurement specifications set by the National Security Bureau, which upgraded the protective measures for Greater Taichung’s mayoral candidates to the highest level. They will accompany the candidates during street canvassing and other public campaign events,” Chen said.

He described the battle for the mayoral post as “a close race to the finish,” and said that the police force wants to prevent repeats of shooting incidents in prior campaigns, which are thought to have affected vote results.

Officials also said security for the candidates would increase, with the police bodyguards for Hu and Lin doubled from two to four each.

Chen said that the “briefcases” are to be opened and worn in an emergency situation.

“This way, we can ensure the personal safety and protection of the mayoral candidates,” he said.

He added that security personnel were selected from police SWAT teams to provide the greatest possible protection.

Hu said that he did not know the police department had made the purchases, while Lin said he would adhere to the protective measures offered by the police.

Additional reporting by Hsu Kuo-chen and Tang Tsai-hsin

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