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Ko promises to boost security in Taipei City

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Pan-green Taipei mayoral nominee Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday promised to boost security and public order in Taipei City by recruiting more security staff and putting up a greater number of security cameras after his Kuomintang (KMT) counterpart Sean Lien (連勝文) made a similar announcement.

Ko made the remark after being interviewed by the media about his take on Lien's city safety plans. Lien said on Tuesday that he was going to establish an “anti-kidnapping team” and increase the number of surveillance cameras.

The current issue for Taipei's police force is that there are still 700 to 800 unfilled vacancies, causing more pressure for the squads, said Ko. “I think the best way to boost the city's safety — speaking from a marketing point of view — is to recruit more police and allow the essential equipment to do its job; the importance of surveillance cameras is also not to be overlooked,” said Ko.

Ko has also proposed to alter the city's current bus routes according to the routes of the metro system, as well as the prices for each ride. “The bus fares are still the same as the Taipei and New Taipei governments are providing financial support, but the most crucial thing is to up transportation efficiency rather than keeping the prices the same,” said Ko.

Lien Expresses Regret Over Misinterpretation

After paying visits to various areas in Taipei and planning reform projects that tailor to the needs of each district, Lien yesterday visited Nanjichang Night Market to inspect gas usage in a popular tourist area.

The food stand owners informed Lien that the cooking fires were powered by liquid petroleum gas that is stored and delivered in tanks after Lien expressed his concerns over the area's old buildings and presumably old gas pipelines.

The remarks and misunderstandings were later criticized by local media and the public, which the pan-blue nominee said was “regrettable.”

Candidates Agree on Campaign Flag Prohibition

The Taipei City Council yesterday passed a decree that prohibited mayoral candidates from putting up campaign flags and banners in public places for the elections, which both Lien and Ko were optimistic about.

The two candidates stated that neither of them was planning to put up flags in the first place. “This is progress in the right direction,” said Lien, while Ko's spokesman stated that he has started out to campaign in an eco-friendly way and the city council's decision matched the initial beliefs of the Ko camp.

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