Shoe-net deployment up to local authorities: NSB chief
CNATAIPEI -- Local authorities will decide whether to erect shoe-catching nets to protect President Ma Ying-jeou at public engagements, Taiwan's top intelligence chief said Monday, countering media reports that Ma was opposed to the safety nets.
October 29, 2013, 12:22 am TWN
“President Ma has never discussed shoe-catching deployment issues with me, as it's up to city and county police departments to decide the necessity of such equipment in the context of the president's security concerns,” said National Security Bureau (NSB) Director-General Tsai De-sheng on the sidelines of a Legislative Yuan committee meeting.
Local papers have reported that Ma disapproved of and ordered the disuse of nets meant to catch shoes hurled by angry demonstrators in what has become a popular act of protest in recent months.
Presidential Office spokeswoman Garfie Li rejected the reports Sunday, saying that the president has consistently followed the professional security assessments from the NSB's Special Service Center, including the agency's advice on shoe nets.
For his part, Tsai said he has not received word of President Ma formally asking not to erect shoe-catching nets at public engagements.
“Local police units are authorized to decide whether to deploy such an installation to facilitate crowd control and to protect the head of state,” Tsai said, adding that the NSB typically respects assessments from local police authorities.
Fielding questions from opposition Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ou-po, Tsai said that shoe-tossing is an act of violence and should be stopped, expressing worries that demonstrators could put bricks into shoes before hurling them.
As to the NSB's working guidelines, Tsai said the bureau would not adopt heavy security measures as long as protesters do not act dangerously or take actions that could compromise the president's safety.