China extradites Taiwan suspect in Chen shooting

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 January, 2013, 6:26pm
UPDATED : Friday, 25 January, 2013, 6:46pm

A fugitive accused of modifying a gun and making the bullets used to shoot and injure Taiwan’s former president Chen Shui-bian in 2004 was extradited to the island from China on Friday, police said.

Tang Shou-yi was arrested in Xiamen city in southeast China earlier this month and was returned to Taiwan under a reciprocal crime-fighting agreement, according to the island’s Criminal Investigation Bureau.

Tang had fled to China after jumping bail in 2006 while on trial for his alleged involvement in the election-eve shooting, which slightly injured Chen and his running mate Annette Lu while they were campaigning for re-election.

Chen went on to win the vote by a razor-thin 0.22 percentage point margin, with his challenger accusing him of having staged the shooting to garner voter sympathy – a charge he has flatly rejected.

The disputed election plunged the island into political turmoil for many months, with the opposition leading mass street rallies demanding Chen’s resignation.

Police in 2005 concluded that a jobless man had shot Chen out of frustration with the government before committing suicide due to remorse, based on a confession by his widow.

However, she later claimed that she was coerced by police into confessing a crime her husband did not commit.

Chen, 62, who left office in 2008 after eight years, is currently serving an 18-and-a-half-year jail term on multiple corruption convictions stemming from his time as president.

Chen insists that the legal action against him was engineered by the current Beijing-friendly government in retaliation for his policies promoting the island’s independence from China while in office.