Taiwan Police Say Who Shot President, but Suspect Is Dead
By KEITH BRADSHER
Published: March 7, 2005
HONG KONG, Monday, March 7 - The Taiwan police announced late Monday morning that they had identified the man who shot and injured President Chen Shui-bian on the eve of national elections a year ago.
But the police said the man had acted on his own and then drowned himself, fully clothed, in a harbor 10 days after the shooting, leaving no one to arrest.
Spinning the sort of story once found in dime store novels, the police said in Taipei that a middle-aged man had carried out the shooting on March 19 because he was depressed about difficulties in selling a house and blamed the president's management of Taiwan's struggling economy.
National sympathy for President Chen, who was grazed in the abdomen, helped the president win re-election the following day by fewer than 30,000 votes of 13.3 million cast. The losing ticket of candidates from the Nationalist Party and People First Party led large street protests and filed lawsuits in an unsuccessful attempt to overturn the vote.
The police said Monday that the man had left a suicide note describing his anger at the president, but not taking responsibility for the shooting. A police official said the family burned the note and tried to keep the incident secret to avoid shame, but recently described the note to the police after investigators traced the purchase of the gun and bullets.
Nationalist Party and People First Party officials said early Monday afternoon that they did not believe the police version, and would proceed with a previously scheduled demonstration on the anniversary of the attack.
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