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June 29, 2017

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Truck driver indicted in Presidential Office crash

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taipei District Prosecutors Office (TDPO) yesterday morning indicted Chang Teh-cheng (張德正), the suspect who rammed his truck into the Presidential Office building in January, over allegations of attempted murder, damaging public assets and obstructing a governmental operation.

Taipei prosecutors said that after rounds of questioning, Chang continues to justify his action by blaming the injustice of the nation's judicial system, and he has shown no remorse since the incident happened. Thus, prosecutors recommended that the Taipei District Court mete out the heaviest sentence to Chang.

At roughly 5 a.m. on Sunday, the 41-year-old Chang 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. This is the most severe security incident ever to threaten the Presidential Office building.

Given that Chang has a college degree, he should know there are other legal ways to seek judicial relief, prosecutors said, adding that despite this he still made the decision to attack the Presidential Office building.

Taipei prosecutors noted that Chang had planned to ram his truck into the Presidential Office, Taipei District Court or the presidential motorcade to express his discontent with the country's judicial system.

Chang allegedly in June 2013 decided to target the Presidential Office building and inspected the environment nearby the building this year on Jan. 2 and 12, prosecutors said, noting that Chang also wrote a confession by himself before the attack and sent it to several local media outlets.

During a questioning session, Chang claimed that the parts damaged by his truck were not part of Taiwan's historic heritage. Chang defended himself by saying that before he drove his vehicle into the building, he saw a military conscript standing out front and he was certain that he would not hit him, which means he did not "obstruct an official operation" nor had he intended to commit murder.

The TDPO, however, commented on Chang's defense, saying that his arguments are flimsy and unconvincing. The prosecutors went on to explain that Chang had seen the military conscript before Chang accelerated his truck to high speeds, which means he knew there was a chance that his action could have led to the conscript's death.

Chang's attorney Tseng Wei-kai (曾威凱) said that judging by Chang's inspection of the Presidential Office building's surrounding environment, what Chang did was a suicidal action as he could have killed himself, noting that however, the prosecutors interpreted the action as attempted murder.

Tseng went on to say that moreover, Chang answered every question when attending the detention court sessions, but was deemed by the prosecutors to have a "bad attitude" when he exercised his right to remain silent.

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