A man who set himself on fire in front of the Presidential Office Building in Taipei yesterday afternoon received second and third-degree burns on 80 percent of his body and remained hospitalized in critical condition as of press time last night.
The man, surnamed Huang (黃), brandished a knife before attempting to charge toward the Presidential Office Building on Ketagalan Boulevard, witnesses said.
Military police at the premises immediately restrained Huang, who then set himself on fire with a lighter, witnesses said.
The flames were quickly extinguished and Huang was rushed to a hospital, witnesses added.
Huang had twice submitted petitions to the Presidential Office over a residential tenancy dispute, saying that a decision by the New Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office to drop his case was “an erosion of justice,” for which Huang would kill himself in protest, the Presidential Office said in a statement.
The Presidential Office in the statement expressed deep regrets about Huang’s self-immolation and called for the public to express complaints in a peaceful manner.
Huang was taken to National Taiwan University Hospital.
“The hospital has given him all the necessary emergency treatment, including cleaning his wounds, providing painkillers and sedatives and drawing blood for further tests,” the hospital said, adding that it was to perform a tracheotomy on the patient in an effort to stabilize his condition.
Huang, 37, might have doused himself with gasoline while at the 228 Peace Memorial Park before heading toward the Presidential Office Building, police said.
Additional reporting by Stacy Hsu
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