In a bid to ensure the safety of schoolchildren, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said the city government would purchase portable alarms for students at two elementary schools as a trial run.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Hung Chien-yi (洪健益) brought up the issue of schoolchildren’s safety during a city council question-and-answer session.
Playing the part of an attacker, Hung moved behind Ko, put his arm around Ko’s neck and asked Ko how he would react if he was a student.
Hung then grabbed the handle of a backpack he had asked Ko to carry on his back.
Ko acted as though he elbowed Hung and kicked up his legs, actions Hung dismissed as ineffective, as it would be unlikely that a child could overpower an adult attacker.
Hung then pulled a string attached to an alarm tied to one of the bag’s shoulder straps, which began to beep loudly.
In response to the threat of random attacks that have become prevalent in Japan in recent years, Japanese authorities began distributing alarms to students and instructed them on how to call out for help and escape an attacker, Hung said.
Taipei should adopt similar measures to improve children’s safety, he said.
In response, Ko said the city government would randomly select two elementary schools at which to test the alarms, with the results to be assessed before deciding to implement the program at all elementary schools.
Ko said the city government’s finances can afford to hold a trial run.
Assuming such an alarm would cost the city NT$100 (US$3.08) per unit, multiplied by 20,000, a rough estimate of the total number of students in one grade, the trial would cost the city about NT$2 million per year, Ko said, adding that the unit price could be further reduced, as the city government would be purchasing large quantities.
On a separate issue, DPP Taipei City Councilor Hsieh Wei-chou (謝維洲), citing Taipei Police Department statistics that showed the number of drug smuggling cases had risen from 4,625 in 2012 to 5,935 last year, said both the number of people and the amount of illegal drugs involved in smuggling cases have been on the rise.
Hsieh asked whether the police have been lenient in cracking down on drug smuggling.
Ko said the police have made significant efforts to crack down on drug smuggling, but added that the efforts have been unable to reduce the number of smuggling cases, indicating that the problem is rooted upstream.
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