Taiwanese official shot dead

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 May, 2007, 12:00am

A Taipei county councillor was shot dead in broad daylight yesterday, in a murder that has shocked the island.

Wu Shan-chiu, 49, an influential member of the opposition People First Party, was in his office when a man entered, drew a pistol and fired five shots at close range.

Taipei county police deputy commissioner Wang Yu-kang said: 'The suspect, wearing sunglasses and a motorcycle helmet, spoke in standard Mandarin and asked office workers where the councillor was. Before the workers responded, he abruptly went into the victim's office.'

The suspect then dashed out and fled on a motorcycle.

Two or three bullets hit Wu in the chest, resulting in massive bleeding. He was given emergency treatment in hospital but died in the afternoon.

Mr Wang said it was obvious the gunman was a hired assassin. He declined to say whether the murder had anything to do with Wu's recent exposure of a scandal involving government officials colluding with the operators of an illegal gravel trade.

Wu was known for exposing corruption and other irregularities involving businessmen and officials in Taipei county.

Wu's party issued a statement expressing grief and condemning the assassination. It demanded the police swiftly solve the case and bring the murderer and anyone else involved to justice. It also hit out at the government of President Chen Shui-bian, saying it failed to improve law and order, as it had promised.

Premier Chang Chun-hsiung, who took the post on Monday, said he had told the authorities to catch the murderer as soon as possible.

At least five elected officials have been killed by gunmen because of business disputes or personal grudges since 1985.