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TSU disputes Executive Yuan repair costs
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-05-06 02:57 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Taiwan Solidarity Union said Tuesday the March 23-24 occupation of the Executive Yuan cost only a third of the amount the government estimated.

During the March 18-April 10 occupation of the Legislative Yuan in protest against the trade-in-services pact with China, a smaller group of students entered the Executive Yuan late on March 23. Riot police armed with batons and water cannons expected the group from the Executive Yuan the next morning.

The TSU legislative caucus alleged Tuesday that the cost of the repairs to the Cabinet offices amounted to NT$1.16 million (US$38,500), and not to NT$3 million (US$99,500), as the government had estimated. The opposition party accused the Executive Yuan of doing its best to persecute the protesters.

When Executive Yuan Secretary-General Lee Shih-chuan presented a report to the Legislature on April 21, he put total damage at NT$3 million, while listing several wooden doors and window frames as well as a refrigerator and its contents as having been broken. At the time, deputy secretary-general James Hsiao caused an uproar by claiming the occupiers had eaten his sun cakes.

TSU lawmakers said they had obtained the detailed accounts of the repairs until April 21 with a total which did not exceed NT$1.16 million. They questioned the government’s motivations in having a low estimate for internal use while giving the Legislative Yuan and the outside world a much higher figure.

Cabinet spokesman Sun Lih-chyun responded by saying the sum was the amount spent on repair so far, but other items such as the news center’s satellite broadcast equipment, microphones and light equipment above its stage had not been fixed yet. One estimate for those items reached NT$1.2 million (US$39,800), though other estimates would still be asked for, he said. In addition, fire safety equipment had also been damaged, according to Sun.

The Cabinet spokesman said the government would look for the most advantageous option. For example, the expensive wooden front door of the Executive Yuan building would be replaced by a door made of a cheaper material, he said.

The police action against the Executive Yuan occupation provoked accusations of needless violence, while further confrontations erupted after the students left the Legislative Yuan on April 10 and nuclear energy became the new focus of protests by social movements.

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