Miaoli County’s Liu says he did not duck protests

CLOSE SHAVE?:Despite being spotted in the legislature’s barbershop during the protests, the commissioner said other business kept him away from a promotional event

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Jul 25, 2013 - Page 3

While the forced demolition of four houses in Miaoli County’s Dapu Borough (大埔) on Tuesday last week has seemingly prompted activists to protest wherever President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), and Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) go, Miaoli County Commissioner Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻) yesterday said that he has “a clear conscience” over the matter.

Despite his claim, Liu yesterday decided not to participate in a promotional activity for top-grafted pears being held at the legislature in Taipei by the Miaoli County Government, after learning of a planned protest against the Dapu demolitions. According to a press release, Liu was supposed to take part in the promotional event, but was later spotted having a shave in the legislature’s barbershop.

In response to media requests later yesterday for comment on his absence from the event, Liu said he did not absent himself on purpose, but was at a ceremonial ground-breaking in Miaoli.

Liu appealed to opponents of the Dapu demolitions — carried out to make way for a county development project to expand the Jhunan Science Park — to stay rational and consider the issue from a legal perspective.

The Miaoli County Government acted in accordance with a policy formulated by the urban planning review committee at the Ministry of the Interior’s Construction and Planning Agency to remove the four houses, Liu said.

Liu said he had no choice but to follow the policy because as a local government commissioner he has to run the administration according to the law.

Liu said he “has a clear conscience” about many things.

However, Liu’s remarks contrasted sharply with central government officials repeatedly emphasizing that the demolition case lay within the purview of the Miaoli County Government.

Before the promotional event at the legislature yesterday morning, dozens of students shouting slogans gathered outside the building, where they hoped to confront Liu.

The protesters were soon forcibly removed by police.

Later, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬) turned up unsolicited at the promotional event, where she stepped on to the podium shouting slogans and tried to grab the microphone from Lai An-ping (賴安平), head of the county government’s agriculture department, but ended up falling off the stage and hitting her head.

She was taken to hospital for an examination, but last night said she was fine and was told by doctors to take more rest.