Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) technicians were attacked in two separate incidents on Sunday in Chiayi County and Yunlin County, as individuals dissatisfied with the progress of blackout repairs vented their frustrations against the personnel.
Both areas experienced severe electrical blackouts in the wake of Typhoon Soudelor, which battered Taiwan on Friday and Saturday.
In Yunlin County, two Taipower technicians were injured by a group of stick-wielding men, who also damaged their vehicles.
Photo: Chang Tsung-chiu, Taipei Times
The repairmen, surnamed Chang (張) and Chen (陳), were carrying out repairs near a school in the afternoon when a car with three men approached. According to Chang and Chen’s accounts, the three men asked “Why are the blackouts taking so long to fix?” before indiscriminately attacking them.
After the attackers sped away, the two engineers continued the repairs only to be beaten again, this time by up to six young men.
The two technicians then reported the incident to the local police station. The case is currently under investigation by the police and one of the men involved in the first attack has come forward to apologize for his actions.
Yang Kuo-kuan (楊國寬), a former township representative in Yunlin who allegedly led the assault, yesterday apologized for “bad behavior.”
Taipower personnel emerged in neighboring Chiayi were not physically attacked, but emerged significantly smellier. Dozens of fishermen, unhappy with the blackout entering its second day, threw rotten fish into a Taipower service center.
In an area where much of the local economy is made up of fishing and seafood products, entire feeding ponds died due to hypoxia.
Tsai Wen-hua (蔡文化), deputy head of Taipower’s Department of Business, Chiayi Branch, called for restraint and patience upon learning of the incidents.
As Typhoon Soudelor was one of the most severe storms in recent years, repair work is proving to be difficult, as obstructions such as collapsed trees, landslides and unsafe roads have limited the response by Taipower, Tsai said.
More than 4.3 million households nationwide experienced power outages, the largest power loss resulting from a typhoon in Taiwan’s history.
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