Mon, Feb 07, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Prosecutors indict gun producer

MARCH 19 SHOOTING In addition to the accused maker of illegal guns and bullets, four other people were indicted for buying and selling his weapons

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tainan prosecutors on Saturday night indicted gun maker Tang Shou-yi (唐守義), whose homemade bullets were found to have been used in the shooting of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) on March 19.

Four other people were also indicted for buying or dealing in the illegal pistols and bullets made by Tang.

"Investigators have been looking for [those] who bought bullets and pistols from Tang in hopes of identifying the March 19 shooter, and we have been making progress," said Liu Wei-tsung (劉惟宗), head of Tainan District Prosecutors' Office and the main leader in the assassination probe.

Liu said Tang admitted that he had produced more than 80 pistols and thousands of bullets since January 2003, and had sold about 55 pistols and 1,248 bullets to 15 people. Investigators have found more than 40 of Tang's pistols, which are unrelated to the assassination.

They believe it may be possible to identify the March 19 shooter by searching for the other pistols and bullets.

"We are confident that we will close the case," Liu said.

In their search for the March 19 shooter, prosecutors have arrested more than 40 people found to have owned or currently possess these pistols and bullets, and 22 suspects remain in custody.

Police have said Tang's homemade pistols were all based on the Beretta M84 pistol, which has a 9mm barrel. Tang's gun's, however, have 8mm barrels, which has made it easier for investigators to track down his handiwork.

In addition, police have said Tang's pistols are able to fire multiple shots, suggesting the March 19 bullets were likely fired from one pistol.

On Oct. 12, Tainan Prosecutor Wang San-jung (王森榮) led a team of police officers on a raid of Tang's residence, where he reportedly produced the illegal weapons.

During the raid, investigators discovered a blueprint of a homemade bullet. They said the drawing exactly matched the two bullets from the shooting.

Investigators have said that the unusual structure of Tang's homemade bullets matched that of those used in the assassination attempt, including distinctive tool and machine marks.

Investigators discovered that another maker of homemade bullets and guns, Chang Hsin-chieh (張新潔), had worked with Tang in the past. Chang died of a drug overdose on June 27 last year.

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