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Presidential Office guard unstable after crash

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A military conscript who was honored for his action when a truck rammed the Presidential Office building last month has recently shown signs of emotional instability and has been transferred to another post, Taiwan's military said yesterday.

Major General Hsieh Ming-te (謝明德) of the Military Police Command told local media yesterday that Wu Chung-ho (吳仲和), a military police conscript who helped to prevent a truck from ramming into the Presidential Office on Jan. 25, has been suffering from trauma in the wake of the incident.

The 23-year-old Wu, who was standing guard during the incident, slammed shut the bulletproof door in front of the Presidential Office Building to stop the truck driven by Chang Teh-cheng (張德正) from ramming into the building.

Wu was later awarded a medal and given extra days off in recognition of his actions by the Military Police Command.

However, Wu has been having trouble sleeping following the incident and sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night, according to Wu's peers in the military, Chang said.

Chang said the unit Wu is serving in, the Military Police 211 Battalion, which is responsible for guarding the Presidential Office in downtown Taipei, has decided to have him transferred to a different position.

The battalion is also offering counseling sessions to Wu in the hopes that he will make a swift recovery from the traumatic incident, Chang added.

At approximately 5 a.m. on Jan. 25, Chang, 41, drove a 35-ton gravel truck through the Presidential Office's steel fence, over tire spikes and past a bullet-proof glass door into the building itself.

He was found unconscious and rushed to National Taiwan University Hospital for emergency treatment. No one other than the driver was injured.

The Presidential Office recently filed a lawsuit against Chang, asking him to compensate for the damage done to the premises during the incident.

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