Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou apologised to the public yesterday for drinking alcohol during lunch in contravention of a ban he imposed on city government employees five years ago. 'I feel sorry for drinking and setting a bad example. I will never do this again,' the embarrassed mayor said of his drinking during a lunch hosted by outgoing Kuomintang chairman Lien Chan on Wednesday. Mr Ma, who is to succeed Mr Lien as KMT leader next Friday, said he felt bad because he was the one who, in 2000, ordered the ban on city employees drinking during their lunch breaks. That order was made after a policeman, who was drunk on duty, caused a serious traffic accident. Mr Ma said although it would have been difficult for him to turn down the hospitality offered at Wednesday's lunch, he should comply with his own order. He had been asked by Mr Lien and retired KMT generals to empty a glass of red wine mixed with kaoliang, a strong spirit, at the lunch, held to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the second world war. TV news footage of the event gave Mr Ma's city council opponents in the Democratic Progressive Party a fresh opportunity to criticise the mayor.