Annette Lu calls for fresh inquiry into 2004 shooting

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 March, 2009, 12:00am

Former Taiwanese vice-president Annette Lu Hsiu-lien has called for a fresh inquiry into a mysterious shooting incident during the presidential election campaign five years ago.

Ms Lu, who retired in May, said the incident - which many claimed had changed the election result - still troubled her today, not only because previous police findings were too incredible but because many questions were left unanswered.

'All I want to know is nothing but the truth,' she said yesterday while promoting her book, 3-19 Shooting Re-examined, which hits bookshops on Saturday.

During a re-election campaign trip in the southern city of Tainan with Chen Shui-bian on March 19, 2004, a day before the election, a bullet struck Ms Lu's right kneecap, and another grazed Chen's abdomen. Chen won the election the next day by a margin of 0.2 per cent.

The pan-blue coalition - led on a joint ticket by Lien Chan of the Kuomintang and James Soong Chu-yu of the People First Party - suggested later that the shooting was staged to canvass sympathy votes, which allowed the Chen-Lu ticket to win re-election. But the Chen government closed the case in early 2005 after naming a drowned man as a possible assailant.

Suspecting she was the primary target, Ms Lu suggested the shooting could have been staged by any side, including her own.

'Four sides - the red, blue, green and black sides - all had a motive to stage the shooting,' she said, referring to the mainland, the Kuomintang, her own pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party and a local gambling ring.

But she said Beijing would have sent a professional killer to do the job properly. Also, if she and Chen had died, the election would have been cancelled and this would not have benefited the Lien-Soong ticket.

She said it was impossible for her and Chen to have staged the shooting as even the United States had predicted that the Chen-Lu ticket would win.

'There could be someone who did not want me to be re-elected as vice-president. If I were critically injured or killed, under the election and recall law here, the election would proceed as scheduled and the president would announce his deputy three months after he was elected.

'This is what has been called the 'vice-president assassination clause',' she said, referring to what she considered a legal provision that encouraged others to kill the vice-president in order to replace him or her.

Ms Lu suspected the local crime gang might have had a stronger motive to stage the shooting as more people seemed to bet on the Lien-Soong ticket as possible winners of the 2004 election.

She said she had examined investigation reports by international forensic expert Dr Henry Lee, police, prosecutors, and even the one by the 3-19 Truth Investigation Commission initiated by the pan-blue camp.