One thing Hou Yu-ih wants Taiwan’s voters to know about him as they prepare to elect a new president is that he used to be a great cop.

The 66-year-old’s decades-long career, which saw him work his way up from a police officer to become Taiwan’s top law enforcement official, is a core part of the image he’s projecting ahead of the election in January 2024. Hou’s pitch is simple. His time working as a cop in very high-stakes situations makes him the best choice to manage one of the world’s most dangerous geopolitical hot spots as Taiwan’s next president.

"I have participated in countless gun battles and I always stood on the front line,” Hou said during an interview in New York on Saturday. "Facing down opponents in a hostage situation teaches you that whether you’re on the offensive or the defensive, you must also engage in dialogue and negotiations.”