Legislators yesterday accused the judiciary of failing to keep track of a potential key witness in the election-eve shooting at a campaign rally in Taipei County on Friday.
In a violent turn of events that night, Sean Lien (連勝文), a son of former vice president Lien Chan (連戰), was shot in the face and a bystander, 29-year-old Huang Yun-sheng (黃運聖), was killed during the campaign rally staged by KMT Sinbei City councilor candidate Chen Hung-yuan (陳鴻源).
Local media reports said that 10 minutes prior to the shooting, the suspect, Lin Cheng-wei (林正偉), attempted to phone Tu Yi-kai (杜義凱), Chen’s campaign director, three times.
Reports that Tu left Taiwan for Shanghai on Wednesday sparked criticism from several Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers.
“The judiciary was being too careless,” KMT Legislator Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) said at the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee meeting.
KMT Legislator Hsu Shu-po (許舒博) agreed, saying: “I couldn’t understand why he [Tu] left for China at this important moment.”
KMT Legislator Ho Tsai-feng (侯彩鳳), however, declined to comment, saying: “It is too sensitive.”
The opposition also demanded an explanation from the judicial authorities, with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) saying Tu might have gone to China to “bury the evidence.”
She demanded that the government officials responsible step down, saying they had botched the probe.
Tu returned from Macau yesterday afternoon and was swamped by reporters upon his arrival at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
Tu said his trip to Shanghai was a scheduled visit, adding that it was business-related travel that he had to attend to in person.
Asked whether Lin had attempted to call him, Tu said he did not know as he did not check the calls he missed.
Saying he had told police about his overseas trip before leaving, Tu expressed his anger over media reports, which he said seemed to insinuate that the trip had something to do with the shooting.
At a separate setting yesterday, Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) demanded a thorough investigation by the judiciary into the shooting, adding that whoever is responsible should be punished.
“We will absolutely not allow violent and illegal incidents to continue to happen,” Wu said after hearing a Central Election Commission briefing on Saturday’s special municipality elections.
Wu said he had instructed the Cabinet to take good care of Huang’s bereaved family.
He urged the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Justice to investigate the shooting and act accordingly to demonstrate the government’s determination to punish criminals and to root out election irregularities.
The DPP also urged the government to probe the shooting and prevent a recurrence of such incidents.
“The government must quickly uncover the truth and clearly explain the matter to the public and the families of the victims,” DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said on Wednesday during the party’s weekly Central Standing Committee meeting.
Tsai rebutted allegations that the DPP might be involved in the shooting. She said the assailant, the mastermind and those who were spreading the rumors should be harshly condemned for attempting to provoke confrontations.
She also called on the government to devise measures to prevent a recurrence of such violence and to dissuade the media from misleading the public.