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Court sentences shooter of KMT honorary chairman's son to 24 years

2012/05/11 22:10:12

Taipei, May 11 (CNA) The man who shot the son of ruling Kuomintang Honorary Chairman Lien Chan on the eve of local elections in 2010 was sentenced to 24 years in prison by the Banciao District Court Friday.

The court handed down the sentence after finding Lin Cheng-wei, nicknamed "horse face," guilty of attempted murder and violations of the Guns, Explosives, Ammunition and Knives Control Act.

Lin fired a shot that went through the face of Sean Lien and killed an innocent bystander during a campaign rally for New Taipei Council candidate Chen Hung-yuan on Nov. 26, 2010, the night before mayoral and councilor elections were held in Taiwan's five special municipalities.

The court said in its ruling that Lin, in dire economic straits, tried to extort money from Chen's father several times for unsettled disputes and wanted to threaten the candidate, but mistakenly shot Lien instead.

In a statement following the verdict, Lien, who later recovered from his wounds, said he regretted the ruling because the defendant only got a 24-year jail term for killing one person and seriously injuring another.

That meant that under Taiwan's legal system, Lin could get parole after serving only a few years, he contended.

"This kind of ruling causes fear and uneasiness, knowing that it could encourage more outlaws to carry out criminal acts using whatever means possible," Lien said in the statement.

Lien also said many questions in the case remain unanswered, including Lin's motives, possible accomplices, and the source of the gun and the bullets.

The authorities should not just talk about "fairness and justice," without solving real difficulties, Lien said, and he called for the truth to be unearthed to ease the "major negative impact of the shooting on society."

Lin has maintained that his target was candidate Chen rather than Lien and said he was only toting the gun to threaten Chen when he inadvertently pulled the trigger that night.

The Banciao District Prosecutors Office indicted Lin in January 2011 after a two-month investigation on charges of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter.

The indictment contended that Lin intended to kill Chen out of revenge to settle an old score with the candidate's family but shot Lien after mistaking him for Chen.

But Lien has insisted he was the real target of the shooting because Lin called his name and cursed at him before firing the shot.

Lin claimed the gun, a German-made SIG Sauer P220 pistol, and its bullets were given to him by a man named Lin Ming-yung some time in 1999 or 2000, but they were never returned because Lin Ming-yung was shot to death a year to two later.

Prosecutors found that the gun was manufactured in 1995 and legally purchased in the United States by an American-Filipino, who took it back with him to the Philippines, but prosecutors failed to trace how the gun ended up in Taiwan.

(By Lee Hsiang-chun, Chen Yi-wei and Lilian Wu)