TAIPEI - Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je yesterday tried to explain a widely criticised statement that he made during a religious event on the evening of Saturday May 2, but admitted that he had misspoken.
During a press event while attending the "Neihu Mazu Fireworks, Arts and Culture Festival", Ko talked about an experience he had had while attending the Dajia Mazu pilgrimage procession from Taichung to Zhanghua.
Ko said that he noticed that the police officers escorting the pilgrims switched from wearing vests that read "police" while in Taichung to vests that said "criminal police" when in Zhanghua. Ko stated that the reason behind the wardrobe change was due to the fact that "people in Zhanghua are all gangsters."
The local press asked Ko whether the gaffe was due to the frustration of having to endure a long wait before the Neihu event began. However, the mayor said that he was not frustrated at all because no one could ever predict the timeframe of a Chinese religious event.
Ko went on to say that the reason why officers switched their uniform was because the tougher uniform kit offered more protection from the dense crowds that tend to gather during such events.
I Am Used To Misspeaking: Ko
Following widespread criticism at Ko's gaffe, the mayor explained his quote yesterday, stating that he was unclear and had misspoken.
Ko made the statement during a press event for the 2015 Taipei101 RUN UP. The mayor said that he was unclear about his previous statement and had misspoken, which is a something that he said he seems to be doing a lot.
"I sometimes get too comfortable with misspeaking," the mayor told local press. "All Ko Wen-je (referring to himself) did was ask onlookers why the event was so aggressive and whether the aggressiveness was a result of attendees being part of a crime syndicate, because it would explain the presence of a large police force. That's it."
The mayor then took part in the RUP UP event, running up the 91 floors and 2046 steps of Taipei 101.
Ko had gone to the emergency room of National Taiwan University Hospital prior to the event, though no further details were disclosed. Nevertheless, the mayor went on to complete the event in 45 minutes, 54 seconds.