An embarrassed Taipei mayor Hau Long-pin has apologised for yet another malfunction of the new cable car system on the outskirts of Taipei. The latest incident came just two days after Hong Kong pop starAndy Lau came to the city to promote the new facility at the invitation of the city government. 'The Taipei city government is sorry about such an accident, which has resulted in tourists being stranded in the cable cars for two hours. This is something we must improve,' Mr Hau said. The city government-operated Maokong cable car system, known as the Taipei Gondola, links the Taipei Zoo and the Maokong Tea Farm on the eastern outskirts of the city. It came to an abrupt standstill yesterday, leaving 323 passengers in 57 cars hanging some 300 metres above the ground for two hours. Angry passengers complained about the unbearable heat inside the gondolas, which have no air conditioning, as temperatures in Taipei rose to a record 38.6 degrees Celsius. It was merely the latest in a series of malfunctions since the new system opened just last month. Mr Hau said seven officials, including the deputy secretary-general of the city government and secretary-general of the transport bureau, were reprimanded for failing to react swiftly enough to the case. Local news media reported that each official was given a demerit for the accident. This gave the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) extra ammunition to lash out at Mr Hau's predecessor, Ma Ying-jeou, the main opposition Kuomintang's presidential candidate in March's elections. DPP city councillors and lawmakers yesterday took turns blasting Mr Ma. They said he should also be held responsible for the accident because he had started the cable car project as Taipei mayor. In response, Mr Ma said he was concerned about the accident, adding that he had been assured by the city government that it would be handled properly. According to Mr Hau, the cable car system appeared to have a problem with its gears at 11am Saturday, but the local contractor failed to take note of it and operators on the ground did not respond. He said the city government would seek compensation from both the local contractor and the French company hired to build the system. The system has encountered a series of problems since its opening last month, prompting the Taiwan Consumer Foundation to call for its suspension. To improve the image of one of the city's tourist attractions, the city government had invited Lau to promote the cable car on Friday. Lau, who remained in Taipei on a promotional tour yesterday, said: 'It is important [for the city government] to take special note of the safety of the system.'