The Ministry of Justice’s dilatory actions in settling into office buildings previously occupied by the Ministry of National Defense has created a security gap for the Presidential Office, a senior security official said.
The official, who declined to be named, said the defense ministry has relocated much of its administrative staff and security personnel from near the Presidential Office Building in Taipei’s Boai Special District (博愛), which has a high concentration of government buildings, to Dazhi area (大直), leaving Boai buildings No. 1 and No. 2, as well as the Procurement Office building in the rear of the Presidential Office Building, for the justice ministry to use.
However, the justice ministry takeover of the buildings has been slow and it has failed to post adequate guards, said the official, who is familiar with the district’s security.
“The result is a loss of effective security for the buffer zone behind the Presidential Office Building,” the official said.
The importance of the defense ministry complex to Presidential Office Building security was what thwarted the justice ministry’s plan to completely take over the site in the first place, the official said.
However, the justice ministry “fought pretty hard” for the use of the buildings and in the end, the two agencies compromised to allow the Reserve Command to retain the Zhongai Military Compound and Guiyang Building, while leaving the No. 1 and No. 2 buildings, as well as the Procurement Office for the justice ministry, the official said.
The defense ministry anticipated that the justice ministry would settle in immediately, but there was a delay to the settling-in process, creating a security gap to the rear of the Presidential Office Building, the official said.
“You can observe this in after-hours operations, when the front region of the Presidential Office Building remains lit, but the rear zone is deserted and almost totally dark,” the official said.
The official said the defense ministry used to deploy guards and military police to guard the rear of the Presidential Office Building.
“The justice ministry guards are only in charge of admitting visitors to its buildings and are incapable of maintaining general security of the area,” the official said.
Deputy Minister of Justice Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂) said that his ministry has made it a priority to relocate its agencies into the buildings, but it lacked sufficient funding to fully occupy them.
Chen said the ministry has a big-enough budget to fully occupy Boai Building No. 1 only.
Boai Building No. 2 is only partially occupied by elements of Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office, Chen said, adding that “the prosecutors would move in as soon as funding is available.”
“There is no security concern regarding the Boai buildings,” Chen said, adding that while it is impossible to guard the structures around the clock due to a shortage of personnel, the ministry intends to improve its security measures by working with the Taipei Police Department.
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