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May 30, 2017

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Keelung mayor indicted for police threats

Prosecutors yesterday pressed charges against Keelung City Mayor Chang Tong-Rong (張通榮) for interference with state functions.

The charges come after the mayor allegedly displayed menacing behavior during an interrogation session of woman suspected of assault.

The mayor is claimed to have asked police officers to release the suspect, surnamed Liao, who was detained on charges of assaulting a female police officer.

After being charged, Chang said that he respected the prosecutors' decisions but was "sorry for the outcome."

According to a police statement detailing the charges, Liao was agitated by a female police officer after she was not permitted to park in a prohibited area. Under the influence of alcohol, Liao allegedly struck the officer and was later taken to the police station with her hands and feet in cuffs.

Chang approached the police officers and attempted to persuade them to release the suspect, according to prosecutors. He then slammed his fist on a table and threatened to deploy the officers at a different location.

According to a member of the Keelung City Council, Lee Leung (李梁), Chang hit the table because he was disgruntled by the female officer's attitude. Chang however had no intention of interfering with the officers' work, the councilor said.

Lee said that Chang was concerned for the female suspect, who had a toddler in her vehicle and was in an "unstable" psychological condition.

Chang said on Sept. 19 that he was "acting as a civil servant" and was worried for the suspect's health.

Prosecutors also pressed charges against the Anle Police Station chief, surnamed Lin, and an officer surnamed Liao for illegally releasing the woman after being pressured by Chang.

According to Keelung District prosecutor Chou Chi-yung (周啟勇), a task force was launched immediately to investigation Chang's behavior after it was exposed by the media.

Keelung Councilor and Democratic Progressive Party member Chen Chih-cheng (陳志成) expressed disappointment over Chang's alleged actions, stating that he abused the rights of a mayor.

Fellow Keelung Councilor and ruling Kuomintang member Han Leung-chi (韓良圻) said that he was "not surprised" by the outcome.

"Assaulting a police officer is a serious crime," Han said.

"No authoritative personnel has the right to interfere with police decisions," Han said.

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