Taiwan man sets himself alight in protest

AP News
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Posted: Sep 27, 2011 12:49 AM
Taiwan man sets himself alight in protest

A Taiwanese man set himself on fire near the presidential office in downtown Taipei on Tuesday to protest actions taken by the island's judiciary.

A police statement said the man, surnamed Tseng, stepped from a van parked near a pedestrian mall abutting the presidential office at about 7 a.m., and set himself alight after dousing himself in gasoline. The statement said the van contained many letters accusing Taiwan's judiciary of unfairness, but did not elaborate.

Police said Tseng was hospitalized with third-degree burns.

A spokesman for President Ma Ying-jeou was not immediately available for comment, but the early hour of the incident _ and Ma's first scheduled appointment being listed at 10 a.m. _ suggested that he was not in the building when it happened.

Local TV stations ran what appeared to be security camera footage of an unidentified man putting out the flames with a fire extinguisher.

Tuesday's incident comes amid heightened security concerns ahead of the Jan. 14 presidential poll, which pits Ma of the ruling Nationalists against Tsai Ing-wen of the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party.

The concerns follow two incidents in which a Chinese tourist got past Ma's bodyguards to put her arm around him and a member of the public cornered Tsai so she would listen to her grievances.