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TSU criticizes Taipei mayoral candidate on his personal affluence

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Four Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Taipei councilor candidates yesterday held a press conference at the Legislative Yuan where they criticized the affluent background of Taipei mayoral hopeful Sean Lien (連勝文).

TSU Taipei councilor candidates Chien Sheng-che (簡聖哲), Lee Cho-han(李卓翰), Hsieh Chien-ping (謝建平) and Chen Chia-lin (陳嘉霖) stated during the press conference that Lien's personal bodyguards during his public events in November of 2013 were observed to be police protection details that work for Lien's father, former vice-president Lien Chan (連戰).

The four TSU members stated that Lien Chan had continued to request that the government provide him with police officers to serve as his bodyguards, even after his “Act of Courtesy for Former Presidents and Vice Presidents (卸任總統副總統禮遇條例)” period had ended. The act dictates that former vice-presidents of Taiwan are given the courtesy of receiving government funded aid for four years after their term has ended.

According to the TSU members, Lien Chan applied and was assigned six police officers from the Special Police Sixth Headquarters (保安警察第六總隊). Lien Chan reportedly ordered the officers to protect Sean Lien during events last year, even when he already had hired bodyguards at his disposal.

Chien, Lee, Hsieh and Chen also stated that of all elected legislators between the Taipei City Government and the New Taipei City Government, only incumbent Kuomintang (KMT) legislator and current Lien mayoral campaign director Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元) has applied for protection details. The TSU members' criticisms have been reported by local media as criticizing the affluence of Sean Lien and his mayoral campaign.

Tsai and NPA Explain Bodyguard Criticism

As Sean Lien's campaign director, Tsai responded to the criticism of the four TSU councilor candidates, stating that it is impossible for Lien Chan to have government funded protection details at his side, since the former vice-president has long ceased receiving government courtesies. As such, Sean Lien's bodyguards are all retired military and police personnel on his personal payroll, Tsai said.

In response to the criticism of him having bodyguards, Tsai stated that he is a very public political figure who is constantly asked to appear on TV shows to exchange fire with opposition party politicians. The employment of bodyguards is a precautionary measure he has been advised to take by legal authorities Tsai said.

The National Police Agency (NPA) stated that Lien Chan's protection details have been provided following proper applications, which in this case covered Lien Chan and his family members. Another reason why Sean Lien was seen with government protection last November, the NPA said, was due to information indicating that his safety was in jeopardy.

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