Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-03-19 03:34 PM
The shooting of the two top politicians on a busy street in Tainan on March 19, 2004, the eve of a narrow re-election victory, touched off a wave of conspiracy theories and months of political upheaval. The man suspected of having fired the shots was later found dead in an apparent suicide. His motive was believed to be dissatisfaction with Chen’s management of the economy.
Over the past nine years, several questions about the shooting had not been fully answered, Lu told a news conference Tuesday. Even though prosecutors dropped bringing charges after the main suspect was found dead, the case had never been satisfactorily solved, she said.
Lu also showed a letter handwritten by Chen asking for a new investigation, while she said both prosecutors and a special Legislative Yuan commission should reopen work on the case.
The former vice president criticized investigators for having misinterpreted or missed several vital elements about the shooting, including the angle at which she was shot. Both Chen and Lu were injured by bullets in the shooting, which took place as firecrackers lit by supporters were exploding all around their open jeep.
She also attacked President Ma Ying-jeou for criticizing Chen ‘s failure to bring the investigation to a satisfactory close, while having failed himself to offer any solutions during the past five years of his rule.
In the months following the shooting, the then-opposition Kuomintang refused to recognize Chen’s election victory while conspiracy theories alleged the president had staged the attack himself to help him win sympathy votes in the hard-fought election. Vote recounts put an end to the disputes and confirmed Chen’s narrow victory.
After leaving office in 2008, Chen was sentenced to prison on corruption charges. His jail term was recently extended to 20 years, but he has been staying at a hospital in Taipei since last September. Recent video footage showed his health had deteriorated sharply despite treatment for depression.
In the shooting case, the man widely believed to have manufactured the gun and bullets used in the attack, Tang Yi-shou, was extradited from China last January. He reportedly admitted making the bullets, but said he was not involved in the plot against Chen and Lu.
Tang was indicted in 2005 for the illegal manufacturing of weapons, but he fled to China before the court reached a verdict.
Investigators never located the gun used in the shooting, but compared bullets found with those produced by Tang and came to the conclusion that he was the producer.