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September 23, 2017

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Wang to 'handle' Legislature damages

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Both ruling and opposition party caucuses yesterday claimed that Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) will be paying for the damage caused by the student activists that occupied the Legislature for three weeks.

The student activists announced on Monday their planned date to leave the Assembly Hall as April 10, a decision made after Wang paid a visit to the students on Sunday and promised not to hold cross-caucus negotiations concerning the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement before a law supervising all pacts with China is passed.

Wang called for caucus officials from both the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to meet and discuss the Legislature's next steps yesterday morning. KMT Legislator Fai Hrong-tai (費鴻泰) — who had previously declared that Wang "betrayed the KMT" in his promise to the students — noted that the issue of the damages was brought up in the meeting, and the speaker said he would be taking responsibility.

DPP caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said that Wang had asked the lawmakers to ease their worries, saying he would handle the compensation issues. The compensation is a minor issue, said Ker. "The students had spent days living on the streets and in the Legislature. Over 500,000 people took to the streets in protest against the pact and to protect Taiwan. Isn't it ridiculous how people are still discussing having the students pay for the damage?" Ker asked.

The Legislature's general affairs staff entered the Assembly Hall yesterday to inspect the damages made and to evaluate the repair fees due. Calculations will be determined after the students leave the Legislature, the head of the General Affairs Department said.

The department also declined an offer by public volunteers to assist in the repair work of the Legislature after citizens launched campaigns to gather carpenters and plumbers to help the students restore the Assembly Hall.

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