The suspected gunman in the shooting of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Central Committee member Sean Lien (連勝文) has told investigators that it was a case of mistaken identity and that he was aiming for a KMT politician — claims that have allegedly been corroborated by two polygraph tests, reports said yesterday.
Citing unspecified sources, the Chinese-language United Daily News (UDN) reported yesterday that based on two lie detector tests administered by police over the weekend, “it was almost certain” that the shooting was a case of mistaken identity.
The newspaper said the suspect, Lin Cheng-wei (林正偉) — also known as Ma Mien (馬面) — told investigators he was involved in a land dispute with members of KMT Taipei County Deputy Speaker Chen Hung-yuan’s (陳鴻源) family. This version of events, the newspaper reported, was confirmed by the lie detector tests and “several witnesses.”
Sean Lien was shot at the rally for Chen the night before the special municipality elections on Nov. 27.
Lin told investigators Chen still owed him a large sum of money and that he brought the pistol to the election rally to “vent his anger.” During questioning by police, Lin insisted that he mistook Lien, a son of former vice president Lien Chan (連戰), for Chen and fired the gun into his face, the UDN report said.
The Banciao District Prosecutors’ Office has confirmed that two polygraph tests were administered over the weekend and that four witnesses have so far been questioned. However, it said that those were preliminary findings and additional evidence was required before the investigation could be closed.
“[Prosecutors] are still actively working toward understanding the suspect’s motives for the crime and whether any other accomplices were involved,” the office said in a statement yesterday.
The shooting initially gave rise to speculation that it was staged by KMT politicians, coming as it did just hours before the special municipality elections, in which the KMT retained the three special municipalities of Taipei City, Sinbei City and Greater Taichung, while the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) kept two — Greater Tainan and Greater Kaohsiung.
Just after the shooting, some members of the KMT and the pan-blue media, hinting that the DPP may have been behind the shooting, told the electorate to say “no to violence” through their vote the next day.
Politicians from both parties, as well as the media, have been engaged in a bitter dispute over whether the shooting, which left a 29-year-old bystander dead, had an impact on the outcome of the elections.
KMT lawmakers yesterday called on investigators to release some of the evidence to the public, including seized video footage of the incident, saying it would help dispel doubts over whether the former vice president’s son was the intended target.
Sean Lien, who has since made a steady recovery and was discharged from hospital on Sunday night, maintains he was the intended target of his attacker.
“Sean Lien believes in his heart that the shooter came solely for him,” KMT Legislator Hsieh Kuo-liang (謝國樑) told a press conference, held after he met the victim earlier in the morning.
Releasing the video footage would clear up any misconceptions, he said.
On comments reportedly made by Sean Lien that he heard the shooter call out his name prior to pulling the trigger, Hsieh said he could have misheard because dozens of other supporters were yelling his name at the time.