Gunsmith in Chen shooting returns from China

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The man accused of making the gun used in the shooting of then-President Chen Shui-bian and Vice President Annette Lu on the eve of the 2004 election returned to Taiwan Friday following his arrest in China.
The shooting, on a busy street in Tainan on March 19, 2004, touched off a wave of conspiracy theories and months of political upheaval, with the opposition unwilling to accept a narrow victory for Chen. The man suspected of having fired the shots was later found dead in an apparent suicide.
Tang Shou-yi was recently reported as having been arrested by Chinese public security agents in Xiamen, Fujian Province, opposite the Taiwanese-held island of Kinmen.
As he arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Friday afternoon, he was accompanied by police and did not speak to reporters. He would be transferred to the Tainan Prosecutors Office after a visit to a Criminal Investigation Bureau, reports said.
Tang admitted in 2006 that he worked on the gun and the bullets used in the attack, but he escaped the country in August of that year. In December, he asked a friend to mail a disc from Macao to Taiwan alleging he was not involved but prosecutors had been trying to frame him.
The March 19, 2004 shooting occurred in broad daylight as Chen and Lu were traveling in an open jeep through Tainan on the final day of campaigning for the hard-fought election. The shots were fired while firecrackers set off by supporters exploded all around, and it took weeks of investigations before a suspect was identified.
A man named Chen Yi-hsiung was found dead, reportedly after having committed suicide by drowning. He had reportedly expressed dissatisfaction about the president’s handling of the economy.
President Chen and Lu did not receive any life-threatening injuries, and the election went ahead as planned. However, their razor-thin victory by 0.2 percent was rejected by the Kuomintang, which launched months of massive protests and legal cases against the results.
International experts reenacted the shooting in the streets of Tainan, while ballot recounts confirmed Chen’s victory. The president rejected conspiracy theories that his camp had staged the attack in order to provoke a sympathy vote in the election, which many observers had expected the opposition KMT to win.