Sat, Jul 10, 2004 - Page 1 News List

`Mysterious call' before shooting impossible: task force

`ABSURD' CLAIMS A newspaper report that, only 15 minutes prior to the shooting of the president, a chief aide made a mysterious phone call is false, officials said

By Debby Wu and Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The judiciary announced yesterday that it has the president's former chief aide-de-camp's phone records on March 19, which refute the rumor that there was a "mysterious call" made by the chief, Lieutenant General Chen Tsa-fu (陳再福), 15 minutes prior to the assassination attempt.

"The `mysterious call' as reported by the media was in fact a call made by Chen to his voicemail," Wang Sun-jung (王森榮), the prosecutor in charge of the shooting investigation task force, said yesterday. Wang told the media that the task force has the records of every single call Chen made.

Wang's statement was in response to a story in the Chinese-language China Times yesterday, which said that according to a report from an intelligence unit to the Control Yuan's March 19 investigation task force, Chen made a "mysterious call" to an unknown number 15 minutes before the shooting.

The story said that, according to the report, Chen made and received 332 phone calls on March 19, and over 100 calls were between Chen and then Presidential Office Spokesman James Huang (黃志芳).

But Wang also disputed this detail, saying that according to the phone records, Chen only made and received 298 calls on March 19, and only about 20 of them were to Huang. Wang said Chen did not get in touch with Huang at all before the shooting, and that all of the calls to Huang were made after the shooting.

Huang said he and Chen did not have 100 phone conversations, because they both accompanied the president to Tainan City, and since he and Chen had stayed in close proximity, there would have been no need to make so many calls.

"I am certain that we exchanged only a few calls, and my call records are open for examination," Huang said.

The newspaper report also said that when the Control Yuan interviewed Chen about the shooting, Chen was unable to give any answer about a "mysterious call."

Control Yuan member Chao Jung-yao (趙榮耀), who is involved in the Control Yuan's task force investigating the assassination attempt, said the task force was aware of all the phone calls and contacts that occurred around the time of the shooting.

Chao said that there was absolutely no evidence of an "unknown person" calling Chen.

"The investigation report we have produced did not say that Chen was unable to answer about a phone call. We have finished with the administrative aspects of the investigation, and we have no intention of interviewing Chen again," Chao said.

"Our report has not yet been made public, nor does the report say anything about Chen being unable to answer about a phone call, either. We do not understand where the newspaper got its story from," Chao said. "The whole thing is absurd."

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