Taiwan's Presidential Office rammed by truck

A large truck is seen after it rammed the Presidential Palace in Taipei on January 25, 2014.

TAIPEI, Taiwan - A 35-ton truck slammed into the main gate of the Presidential Office building yesterday morning, injuring the driver but nobody else, the Presidential Office said.

Presidential Office deputy spokesperson Ma Wei-kuo said that the driver, surnamed Chang, hit the main gate of the Presidential Office building at around 5:05 a.m.

According to the deputy spokesperson, the truck was stopped at the main gate after passing through four defensive measures, but no sentries guarding the gate were injured.

Ma said that Chang was taken to National Taiwan University Hospital by police immediately and regained consciousness later.

However, police said that Chang, who is 41 years old, refused to be questioned.

Taipei's Zhongzheng First Precinct Police chief Fang Yang-ning said that the incident was a premeditated crime and the driver intentionally crashed into the Presidential Office Building. Fang said, however, that the truck was not rigged with explosives or any hazardous device.

Fang said that police have "completely ruled out" a political motive for the incident based on intelligence gathered from an initial investigation, but added that Chang had some "disappointments" with current social conditions.

According to the police, Chang has a criminal record and claimed multiple times that he would crash a car into the Presidential Office building, but the actual motive is not clear.

According to police, Chang's family said that he recently divorced his second wife, which made him disaffected with the judicial system. Chang's mother said that he left a message on the mirror in a room, saying that he was leaving and he had to take care of his own business.

Ma said that the sentries followed standard operating procedure and closed the gate in front of the building's driveway, which reduced the impact that the truck created when slamming into the building.

President Ma Ying-jeou, who is currently visiting the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe, received information regarding this incident, the spokesperson said, and the president asked all officials to handle this incident carefully following standard operating procedures.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin said that the police reported this incident to him immediately, and stated that the incident was intentional.

Hau said that he already demanded police increase security around the Presidential Office to avoid similar incidents from happening again.

Legislators' Responses

Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang yesterday said that the government should consider relocating the Presidential Office to Dazhi, which could make the office more secure

Lin said that the Presidential Office is located near popular districts and that vehicles and people can easily move close to the building, which makes it hard for security guards to protect.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chi-mai, however, said that it was a flaw of the security system that caused this incident.

Chen said that there were at least two to three minutes of reaction time before the truck slammed into the building, but all security measures failed.

Chen said that officials should start a review of the incident and punish people who did not do their jobs to guard the Presidential Office building.