Sat, Sep 10, 2016 - Page 3 News List

NSB earmarks NT$25m to buy armored car for Tsai

By Lo Tien-pin and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The National Security Bureau (NSB) has earmarked NT$25 million (US$793,399) in next year’s budget to purchase an Audi A8L armored vehicle for President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) that meets all the requirements the special services deem necessary to protect the president.

The windows, doors, chassis and tires of the car are resistant to bullets fired from pistols or rifles and can even withstand explosions from grenades, officials said.

The vehicle’s interior contains first-aid kits, defensive equipment, communications facilities and a direct link to telephone hotlines to ensure that the president is able to remain in command whatever occurs, the officials said.

The vehicle will greatly increase the defensive capabilities of the head of state in case of emergencies or even terrorist attacks, they said.

The NSB late last year in the run-up to the presidential election on Jan. 16 provided then-presidential candidate Tsai with a Discovery Land Rover 3.0 sport utility vehicle.

After the president assumed office, the NSB purchased nine Audi A8L 50 TFSL vehicles to act as the presidential motorcade, which went into service on May 20 this year at Tsai’s swearing-in ceremony.

While that vehicle is comparable with the vehicle that carries German Chancellor Angela Merkel, critics said that the A8L series is not up to the level required by a head of state.

Its capabilities, in terms of bullet resistance, are still lower than the A8L Security model, which usually retails for about NT$8 million, sources said, adding that with the NSB’s additional requirements, the A8L Security would cost at least NT$15 million to NT$25 million.

Sources said that judging from the price tag the NSB has earmarked for the purchase, the bureau is taking presidential security seriously and purchasing a vehicle that is truly at a level required by a head of state.

Should the budget be ratified by the Legislative Yuan, the bureau would be able to look for vendors as soon as February next year and would receive the vehicle in October next year, the bureau said.

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