Taiwan man charged over ramming of presidential office

Policemen close the site where a large truck rammed the Presidential Palace in Taipei on January 25, 2014. Taiwan stepped up security measures after a driver rammed a huge truck through a bulletproof screen and into the main gate of the presidential
Policemen close the site where a large truck rammed the Presidential Palace in Taipei on January 25, 2014. Taiwan stepped up security measures after a driver rammed a huge truck through a bulletproof screen and into the main gate of the presidential office, apparently intentionally, officials said. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP 

TAIPEI (AFP) - A Taiwanese man who rammed a truck into the presidential office in an attempted suicide attack was on Thursday charged with attempted murder and four lesser offences.

Chang Teh-cheng, 41, drove the 35-tonne vehicle at high speed through several barricades, up a set of steps and into a bulletproof screen before getting stuck in a gate leading to the office's main building.

Chang was badly injured, but no one else was hurt in the January 25 incident, the worst breach of security at the site in Taipei. President Ma Ying-jeou was abroad on a state visit at the time.

"Chang not only damaged national properties but could also trigger copycat effects to endanger public safety," prosecutors said. "We demand a heavy sentence as he has shown no remorse and has a bad attitude," they added.

The truck driver was also indicted on four other charges, including obstructing officers on duties and damaging historical property, the prosecutors said.

Chang has said he drove his truck into the building in order to vent his frustration over what he called "unfair justice", according to prosecutors.

He had been unhappy with a court ruling in 2011, when he was given a 40-day jail term for fighting with a relative from his second marriage, which ended in divorce.

The office attack prompted authorities to tighten security there and more than TW$3 million (S$125,800) has been spent repairing the damage done to the 95-year-old building.

The presidential office has filed a lawsuit against Chang seeking compensation.

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