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September 23, 2017

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Gov't needs to consider the public's grievances to preempt clashes: Ma

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou said on Sunday that the government needs to think about the people's grievances and come up with ways to decrease incidents of confrontation, in response to the recent incident in which a truck driver rammed his vehicle into the Presidential Office building.

The president made the comments during a press conference in Honduras.

Ma said that the authorities are investigating the case, and that judging from what they've been able to find out, there weren't any political motives involved.

According to the investigators, the incident may have been prompted by the perpetrator's dissatisfaction with society, but given that laws were broken, the police must continue their investigation and determine the question of accountability, Ma said.

The government has to think about what sort of public dissatisfaction led to this incident, and it has to fundamentally think about how to lower public dissatisfaction in order to prevent these incidents from happening, the president added.

If necessary, security measures will be strengthened, Ma said, adding that Presidential Office Secretary-General Timothy Yang (楊進添) is looking into the matter with relevant departments.

When asked if the administration has considered relocating the Presidential Office or the presidential residence, Ma said that these questions have been discussed many times over the past several years.

"We are not opposed to the idea," the president said, adding that the suggestion was made when he took office five years ago.

"We conducted evaluations, but afterward we felt that there wasn't much of a possibility (of relocating the Presidential Office)," Ma said.

The president said that the recent truck crash into the Presidential Office building was an unprecedented incident, and that government officials are looking into the matter in order to effectively protect the R.O.C. head of state's security.

At roughly 5 a.m. on Sunday, Chang Teh-cheng (張德正), 41, drove a 35-ton truck through the Presidential Office's outer fence, over tire spikes, past iron bars and into a bullet-proof door of the Presidential Office building. Chang, found unconscious, was rushed to a nearby hospital for emergency treatment.

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