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Assailant claims sword attack at Presidential Office was political

2017/08/18 15:06:28

Taipei, Aug. 18 (CNA) A man who struck a military police officer guarding the Presidential Office Friday with a Japanese sword stolen from a museum has claimed that his action was a demonstration of his political position, according to police.

The assailant, aged 51 and identified by his surname of Lu (呂), managed to approach the guarded west wing of the Presidential Office on the intersection of Bo'ai Road and Zhangsha Street at around 10:15 a.m., whereupon he struck at the neck of the guard with the sword.

Lu was overpowered by other guards and prevented from entering the building, police said, adding that the injured man was rushed to the nearby National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) for treatment.

An initial police investigation indicates that Lu used a hammer to smash the display case containing the sword and took the weapon from the Armed Forces Museum before heading to the Presidential Office for the attack.

Police found a communist People's Republic of China flag in the assailant's bag.

Asked what drove the man to launch the strike, Tsai Han-cheng (蔡漢政), head of the Jieshou police office affiliated with the Zhongzheng First Precinct of Taipei City Police Department, said that Lu claimed during interrogation that he wanted to "demonstrate my political position."

Lu has been turned over to the Taipei District Prosecutors Office for further investigation.

Meanwhile, Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said the injured military policeman was in stable condition after urgent treatment for his wounds.

Huang also said that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was concerned about the injured military policeman after learning about the attack. Presidential Office Secretary-General Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) visited the wounded man on Tsai's behalf, he said.

Col. Chang Po-yen (張博彥) of the Military Police 202 Command said the man has a 10-centimeter wound on the right side of his neck but is not in critical condition.

Ministry of National Defense spokesman Maj. Gen. Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) confirmed that a military sword was stolen from the Armed Forces Museum, and said that relevant surveillance video clips have been handed over to police.

The museum has been closed to the public following the attack.

(By Lu Hsin-hui, Liu Chien-pan and Elizabeth Hsu)
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