Sean Lien (連勝文), one of former vice president Lien Chan’s (連戰) sons, was shot last night as he was campaigning for a Sinbei councilor candidate in Yonghe (永和), Taipei County. He was hit in the face and was rushed to National Taiwan University Hospital.
Yonghe police precinct said a 29-year-old man was also shot at the rally, but died on the way to a hospital.
In a press briefing at 10:05pm, the hospital said Sean Lien, was still undergoing surgery, but was not in a life-threatening situation. He was conscious when he arrived at the hospital, officials said.
Witnesses said a man burst onto the stage at Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) councilor candidate Chen Hung-yuan’s (陳鴻源) rally and fired a shot at Sean Lien shortly after he took the stage and as he was about to address the crowd. The bullet hit the left side of his face, eyewitnesses said.
A man named Lin Cheng-wei (林正偉) was quickly apprehended by police. The motive for the shooting is under investigation.
Pan-green politicans condemned the shooting, while KMT politicians condemned it as “election violence.”
Lien Chan joined Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin’s (郝龍斌) rally after visiting his son at the hospital. Choking back tears as he discussed his son, Lien Chan urged supporters to support Hau and the KMT’s other mayoral candidates.
“My son is in the hospital right now and the condition is unknown. I will say no more. May God bless Taiwan and the public,” he said.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who doubles as KMT chairman, later walked onto the stage amid cheers from the crowd. Ma pledged to fight against such an “unforgettable example of violence.”
Late last night, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei mayoral candidate Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) held a press conference to condemn violence, “at any time and any place.”
“We are praying for the victims,” he said. “We understand that the police have already arrested a suspect and ask them to release the truth about the incident immediately.”
However, he said political parties should avoid trying to take advantage out of the shootings, adding that he hoped “society can return to normal as soon as possible.”
DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), a mayoral candidate for Sinbei City, also denounced the shootings, saying she “condemned all forms of violence” and urging supporters to remain calm and rational for today’s elections.
Labeling the shootings gang-related, Tsai said they were a “tremendous shock to everyone.”
She wished Sean Lien a fast recovery and offered her condolences to the Lien family and the family of the other victim.
The Taipei Times has learned that immediately following the shootings, government agencies began to deliver bullet-proof vests to the mayoral candidates, but it was not clear as of press time whether the candidates for councilor and borough chief posts were also getting vests.
Sean Lien is deputy director of Taipei City’s Economic Development Commission, and member of the KMT's Central Committee.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER
This report has been updated since it was first published.