The National Security Bureau (NSB) has received more than 10 pieces of intelligence on people threatening to assassinate the country’s leader so far this year, most of which involve “mentally unstable” people, a senior official said Monday.
“Those threats have either been posted on the Internet or made in letters to news media editors,” NSB Director-General Tsai Teh-sheng said in response to a press inquiry before attending a hearing of the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign and Defense Affairs Committee.
Asked who has been the main target of the threats, Tsai said that over the past year, the number of death threats targeting President Ma Ying-jeou has far outnumbered those targeting opposition Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen, who is challenging Ma’s re-election bid.
While the NSB already keeps close tabs on homeland security intelligence, Tsai said, these efforts have been further intensified over the past year in the run-up to the presidential election on Jan. 14, 2012.
“Upon obtaining intelligence about threats to kill the national leader or other prominent figures, our bureau tends to investigate immediately. Should any suspicious criminal activity be discovered, we transfer the cases to law enforcement authorities for further investigation,” Tsai said.
Citing an NSB analysis, Tsai said most of the death threats received were made by people who have either been involved in tedious legal suits or who feel they have fallen victim to miscarriage of justice. Several other were from perverse eccentrics who wrote the threatening letters to vent their grievances or emotions.
Tsai further said the NSB has transfered several such cases to the Criminal Investigation Bureau under the National Police Agency for further investigation.
With the approach of next presidential and legislative elections, Tsai said, the NSB will step up its intelligence-gathering to ensure homeland security and protect the safety of all the candidates running in the elections.
Meanwhile, the United Evening News quoted an unnamed official as reporting that same day that the Presidential Office did not receive an unusually high number of threatening mail or parcels this year, despite the approach of the election.
During Ma’s three-and-a-half years in office, the official said, the Presidential Office received the greatest number of intimidating mail and parcels in 2009, when more than 10 such letters, parcels or e-mails were received.
As for this year, only three threatening e-mails had been received as of Monday, the official said.
According to the official, all such threats are sent to the Criminal Investigation Bureau or the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau for investigation. Some of the senders have been convicted and are now serving time behind bars, the official added.