TAIPEI • Taiwan's new representative to Singapore, Mr Antonio Chiang, has apologised for drink driving, saying that one should never drive after drinking alcohol.
Speaking to reporters yesterday, Mr Chiang admitted to drink driving after having dinner with friends on Tuesday.
The apology came after he was stopped by police in Binjiang Street in Taipei early on Wednesday, where a breathalyser test showed a breath alcohol content of 0.27 mg/l, almost double the legal limit of 0.15 mg/l.
Based on the result of the test, Mr Chiang was arrested and referred to the Taipei District Prosecutors Office for possible indictment for posing a hazard to public safety, reported Central News Agency (CNA).
The former deputy secretary-general of the National Security Council was released after questioning.
Mr Chiang, 72, was sworn in as Taiwan's trade representative to Singapore on Tuesday.
He is scheduled to go to Singapore to formally assume his duties later this month, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Before joining the previous Democratic Progressive Party government in 2000, Mr Chiang was a senior journalist and newspaper publisher.
Until recently, he has been contributing op-ed pieces to the mass- circulating Apple Daily, commenting on political affairs.
In response to reporters' questions, Foreign Minister David Lee described the incident as "regrettable".
However, Mr Chiang is "going ahead with his preparations for taking up his new post according to plan", Mr Lee was quoted as saying by Taiwanese media.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Eleanor Wang said Mr Chiang has given his explanation of the incident to senior ministry officials.
The ministry has briefed Singapore's representative office in Taiwan on the case, and the office said it will report the incident back to the Singapore Government, Ms Wang added.
Commenting on the case, Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang said on Wednesday that the incident "should not have happened" and called Mr Chiang's behaviour "a bad example", without mentioning his name.
The opposition was quick to condemn Mr Chiang's misdemeanour as unbecoming of a diplomat.
"By sending such a fellow to represent Taiwan in Singapore, President Tsai is making all Taiwanese lose face," Kuomintang legislative whip Tsai Cheng-yuan said in a Facebook post last night.
Correction note: An earlier version of the story said the breathalyser test showed his blood alcohol content was 0.27mg per litre. It should be his breath alcohol content. We are sorry for the error.