Taiwanese driver sued for ramming van into presidential office

Workers repair the damaged front gate at the Presidential Palace in Taipei on Jan 26, 2014. Taiwan's presidential office has filed a lawsuit against the man who rammed a truck into the tightly guarded premises in an attempted suicide attack, off
Workers repair the damaged front gate at the Presidential Palace in Taipei on Jan 26, 2014. Taiwan's presidential office has filed a lawsuit against the man who rammed a truck into the tightly guarded premises in an attempted suicide attack, officials said on Thursday, Feb 13, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

TAIPEI (AFP) - Taiwan's presidential office has filed a lawsuit against the man who rammed a truck into the tightly guarded premises in an attempted suicide attack, officials said on Thursday.

Chang Teh-cheng, 41, drove a 35-tonne truck through several sets of barricades last month.

At high speed, the vehicle ascended a set of steps before being stopped by a bullet-proof screen and becoming stuck in the gate leading to the office's main building.

He was severely injured but no one else was hurt in the attack, the worst of its type on the building.

The incident prompted authorities to tighten security, and it has cost more than NT$3 million (S$125,400) to repair the damage to the 95-year-old building.

Presidential Ma Ying-jeou's spokesman Li Jia-fei confirmed that the presidential office had filed the lawsuit against Chang on Feb 5.

"It would be unfair for the damage to be paid by the tax-payers," another official at the office said.

Mr Ma was away on a state visit abroad at the time.

An initial police investigation ruled out political motives, with police and Chang's family saying that the suspect had been unhappy with a court ruling in 2011.

He had been given a 40-day jail term in 2011 for fighting with a relative from his second marriage which ended in divorce.

Chang, who had been arrested on charges of attempted murder, has been released on bail after interrogation by prosecutors.