Kaohsiung mayor-elect Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) yesterday invited former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to attend his inauguration later this month, saying that he would ensure Chen’s safety if he decides to attend.
“Chen was a head of state, a former Kaohsiung resident and an old colleague of Han at the Legislative Yuan. We certainly welcome his attendance at the mayor-elect’s inauguration ceremony,” said former Leofoo Tourism Group communications director Anne Wang (王淺秋), who is to be director of the Kaohsiung Information Bureau after Han takes office on Dec. 25.
If Chen is willing to attend the ceremony, Han’s office would deploy more police to ensure his safety, Wang said.
Wang made the remark shortly after Formosa TV released online an episode of Chen’s commentary series, in which the former president said that he was reluctant to attend Han’s inauguration, because he was still traumatized by an attack 20 years ago.
Chen said that when he and Han were lawmakers, the mayor-elect attacked him from behind at the Legislative Yuan, causing injuries that hospitalized him for three days.
“Even now, I am still afraid of seeing Han,” he said.
Because of the incident, Chen said that several people have expressed concern that after Han’s election on Nov. 24, Chen could be in danger of another attack by the mayor-elect’s supporters when he is out exercising in the city.
“How could I dare to attend a ceremony that is going to be inundated with Han’s supporters?” Chen asked.
Chen has been living in Kaohsiung since his release on medical parole from a 20-year jail sentence in January 2015, after being diagnosed with illnesses including sleep apnea and osteoporosis, as well as suspected Parkinson’s disease.
Regarding his pledge to become a “northern drifter” if Han was elected, Chen said that he has decided to stay in Kaohsiung to see if the mayor-elect is able to deliver on his promises to build a Ferris wheel motel near the Love River (愛河) and a casino in Cijin District (旗津).
“Northern drifter” became a popular catchphrase during the campaign, after Han used the term to discuss Kaohsiung’s perceived dismal economic development that has forced young people to find jobs in northern Taiwan.
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