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Security lapses cited after president hit by thrown book

2014/09/27 15:44:37

President MA Ying-jeou at the event in Taipei Friday, where a book was thrown at him.

Taipei, Sept. 27 (CNA) The National Security Bureau (NSB) on Saturday admitted to lapses in the handling of security for President Ma Ying-jeou after he was hit by a book thrown by a member of a political group a day earlier.

The NSB said lapses have been found among its staff and military police officers, who were responsible for the safety of the president as he attended a reception for international franchise chains in Taipei's Dazhi area.

The bureau said it will take putative action against those responsible for the oversight, according to a statement it issued following an internal meeting called over the incident. News media reported that up to 10 people were being disciplined.

Although the bureau had gone over Friday's security arrangement on site and had related intelligence, it still failed to stop the man from launching the attack, the bureau said.

A group of NSB personnel that failed to protect the president has been replaced, the bureau said, adding that it will strengthen measures to ensure the president's safety.

The bureau said it respects the people's right to express their opinions peacefully, but they must not break the law and resort to illegal actions.

The attack occurred as President Ma was preparing to leave the building after the reception.

A group of reporters were waiting to ask him for his response to Chinese President Xi Jinping's advocacy of a "one country, two systems" formula to deal with Taiwan when a man in a black shirt launched the attack from the media enclosure.

Shouting "Taiwan and China, one country on each side," he hurled the book "Formosa Betrayed," which hit Ma in the torso.

The young man was quickly overtaken by bodyguards. Police asked him to leave the venue after identifying him.

Flanc Radical, a Kaohsiung-based activist group, later posted an item on Facebook identifying the man as Yen Ming-wei, director of the group's joint campaign headquarters and a freshman at National Sun Yat-sen University in the southern city.

After the incident, Presidential Office spokeswoman Ma Wei-kuo said the president respects the rights of the public to express their views rationally, but any form of violence should be condemned.

(By Claudia Liu and Elaine Hou)