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Death penalty recommended for gunman in election eve shooting case

2011/01/21 17:41:18

Taipei, Jan. 21 (CNA) Prosecutors on Friday indicted the suspectin the election eve shooting of Sean Lien on four charges, includingmanslaughter and attempted murder, and recommended that he be giventhe death penalty.

Banciao District Prosecutors Office spokeswoman Chen Cheng-fensaid that because the incident seriously disrupted public order andmarred Taiwan's hard-won democratic election process, the suspectdeserved the harshest penalty as a deterrent to future crimes.

According to the prosecutors office, suspect Lin Cheng-wei,nicknamed "Horse Face, " attempted to kill New Taipei City councilorcandidate Chen Hung-yuan on the eve of Taiwan's Nov. 27 municipalityelections to settle a dispute with the candidate's father, ChenMing-hsiung.

"The suspect tried several times to confront Chen Ming-hsiung buthe was rejected each time. He felt Chen Ming-hsiung looked down onhim so he wanted him to experience the pain of losing a son," thespokeswoman said.

But Lin, a small-time local gangster, only knew of ChenHung-yuan's face from election posters and flags and mistook Lien --son of former Vice President Lien Chan -- for the candidate when Lienwas standing in the middle of the campaign rally's stage, thespokeswoman said.

Lien, a rising star in the Kuomintang, was invited to stump forChen Hung-yuan at the rally held at Yonghe Elementary School in NewTaipei City, where the shooting took place.

According to prosecutors, Lin ran up to the stage from behind,grabbed hold of Lien, and attempted to kill him by shooting his headat close range. The suspect planned to fire a second shot but failedbecause he was immediately apprehended.

The high-profile shooting drew widespread attention and isbelieved to have helped candidates of Lien's party -- the Kuomintang(KMT) -- pick up more votes in mayoral elections the following day.

It is unclear, however, if it influenced the final outcome of theraces.

The spokeswoman said the bullet shot from Lin's gun went throughLien's face and hit a member of the audience surnamed Huang, who diedshortly after taking the bullet in the head.

Aside from tarnishing Taiwan's democracy and seriously disruptingpublic order, the suspect also showed no remorse after the incident,the spokeswoman said, leading prosecutors to ask for the deathpenalty to deter similar acts of violence in the future.

The other two charges against Lin were illegal possession offirearms and illegal possession of bullets.

Prosecutors also concluded at the end of their 57-dayinvestigation that Lin acted alone.

Lien survived the shooting and was discharged from the hospital10 days later.

(By Jenny W. Hsu)
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