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Chen family questions prosecutors' explanation of Lien shooting

2011/01/21 19:53:50

Taipei, Jan. 21 (CNA) New Taipei City Councilor Chen Hung-yuan onFriday strongly contested prosecutors' explanation of an election-eveshooting at a campaign rally held for him late last November, sayinghis family did not have any contact with the suspect as prosecutorsclaimed.

On Friday afternoon, the Banciao District Prosecutors Officeannounced it was indicting suspect Lin Cheng-wei, nicknamed "HorseFace, " on manslaughter, attempted murder, and other charges becausehe planned to shoot Chen on the eve of the Nov. 27 municipalityelections to settle land disputes with the family.

In a case of mistaken identity, however, he shot Sean Lien, theson of former Vice President Lien Chan, instead of his intendedtarget, a spokeswoman for the prosecutors office explained.

She said Lin developed the motive to kill Chen -- who was runningfor re-election as a New Taipei City councilor in the year-endmunicipality elections -- when the candidate's father reportedlysnubbed him several times when Lin tried to confront him.

Chen disputed the story presented by the prosecutors in theirindictments.

"I have asked my father several times and he said he has neverheard of Horse Face, let alone met him or had any disputes with him.None of our family members had any interaction with Horse Face," saidChen.

The New Taipei City Council deputy speaker said members of hisfamily have been running for public office for over two decades, andquestioned why if Lin had any unsettled feuds with his family hewaited until last year's election eve to take action.

Chen, who eventually won re-election, added that during thecampaigning period, his campaign headquarters never received anyverbal or written threats from Lin or his associates.

"We have never received any extortion threats from Lin and thuswe find it hard to believe the entire shooting was purely aboutmoney, " said Chen.

He urged prosecutors to go after what he called the "realmastermind" behind the shooting and find the truth so that his familywould not have to live in fear.

Chen said that because Lin was in dire economic straits beforethe shooting, someone would have had to give him the money to buy thegun and bullets -- estimated to cost at least NT$300,000 -- orfurnish him with the weapon itself.

The prosecutors have recommended that Lin be given the deathpenalty after indicting him on manslaughter, attempted murder, andillegal possession of firearms and ammunition charges.

According to prosecutors, Lin acted alone in planning to killChen during the Nov. 26 election rally, but shot Lien instead aftermistaking him for the candidate.

Lien, a rising star in the Kuomintang, was invited to stump forChen that night. A video clip of the shooting showed that Lin ran upto Lien from behind, grabbed hold of him, and, as the two menstruggled and lost their balance, reached up to shoot him in theface.

Lin had planned to fire a second shot but failed because he wasimmediately apprehended, prosecutors said.

The high profile shooting drew widespread attention and isbelieved to have boosted the vote total of KMT mayoral candidates inthe northern half of Taiwan the following day.

The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) believes theshooting may have actually helped KMT candidates snatch victory fromdefeat, and filed a lawsuit on Dec. 31 asking the court to nullifythe results of the three mayoral races won by the KMT on Nov. 27.

An innocent bystander was also killed in the shooting after beinghit in the head by the bullet from Lin's gun that went through Lien'sface, prosecutors said.

Lien survived the shooting and was released from the hospital 10days after the incident.

(By Jenny W. Hsu)