By Joseph Yeh, The China Post
The China Post–The National Security Bureau (NSB,國安局) yesterday pledged to remain impartial and uphold administrative neutrality when offering protection to presidential and vice presidential candidates across party lines in the upcoming election campaign to be officially launched later this month. In a ceremony to mark the conclusion of the training for a total 135 special agents who will be in charge of the safety for all candidates yesterday in Taipei, NSB Director Tsai Der-sheng (蔡得勝) said all related personnel were ready for the mission and vowed to offer solid protection to all candidates. Tsai said special agents are prepared to offer close-range protection to three groups of presidential and vice presidential candidates during campaigning set to officially begin on Nov. 21 and end Jan. 14 on Election Day. He added that four of the total eight female agents will be responsible for the safety of opposition Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (not related with Tsai). To reaffirm the impartiality of all special agents when carrying out the forthcoming 24/7 mission, the chief intelligence head said the agents were assigned to each groups of candidates by an open lottery drawing. “I am confident that all agents are highly professional, well-trained and can perform their duties despite their political affiliations,” he noted. Speaking at the same occasion, Wu Ying-ping (吳應平), deputy commanding officer at the NSB’s Special Service Center, said the bureau has also purchased bulletproof vests to protect the candidates from snipers.
Wu added that these vests are all tailor-made according to each candidate’s measurements. Each campaign camp will also be given one bulletproof armored vehicle to be used when electioneering in public. NSB Queried on Pre-Election Shootings When asked by reporters what the NSB has done to avoid pre-election shootings from happening again, Wu said the Special Service Center would urge supporters not to set up firecrackers when candidates’ motorcade parade canvassing support in the streets. Wu added the bureau will also advise presidential and vice presidential candidates not to board the same vehicle during campaigns, for safety reasons. The NSB urges each camp to work closely with the bureau in screening every one who will step onto the stage while stumping for presidential candidates, he noted. These moves are done to avoid a recurrence of the March 19, 2004, incident, and the municipality election eve shooting last year, in which Sean Lien was shot by a gunman in the face. Meanwhile, the NSB yesterday also held demonstrations to showcase special agents’ various skills in protection candidates. Vehicles and other security equipments, including a rarely seen French-made gunshot detection system, are also on display at the scene. The system allows automatic detection and accurate localization of gunshots, allowing security agents to trace the origin of a shot 1.5 seconds after the incident takes place, the NSB said.