Wed, Nov 03, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Police debunk committee's suspicion of March 19 van

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The March 19 Shooting Truth Investigation Special Committee yesterday announced a NT$100,000 reward to whoever provides substantial information regarding a suspicious blue minivan seen at the site of the assassination attempt on the President and Vice-President in Tainan City. But the police later said that the minivan belongs to a volunteer firefighter.

Eight committee members visited the Ministry of Justice's Bureau of Investigation Director-General Yeh Sheng-mao (葉盛茂) yesterday morning to seek help with its investigation. Committee Spokeswoman Wang Ching-fong (王清峰) mentioned that a blue minivan, parked in front of No. 2, Kinhua Rd. Sec. 2 during the crime, looked suspicious. She said the committee would provide a reward of NT$100,000 to whoever can help identify the vehicle.

According to Wang, funds for the NT$100,000 reward will come from sales of committee Convener Shih Chi-yang's (施啟揚) autobiography.

Speculation about the blue minivan was soon cleared up by the National Police Agency's Criminal Investigation Bureau.

"The blue minivan actually belongs to a volunteer firefighter of the city's fire department," read a press release by the CIB. "He was interrogated, cleared and is not involved in the case at the moment."

According to the bureau, the firefighter drove his blue minivan past the parade route on March 19, but was pulled over by the police and presidential security guards. So he parked his vehicle at the location where it was seen in video footage.

In addition to questions about the blue minivan, Wang said that during their meetings with Yeh, committee members also wanted to know whether the Bureau of Investigation had received any tips or reports of suspicious activity through its intelligence network before the assassination attempt.

Meanwhile, Tainan prosecutors decided to escort from Kaohsiung to Tainan a man who confessed last Friday to being the gunman in the assassination attempt. The man, Wang Er-chiang (王而將), is an illegal Chinese illegal immigrant who entered Taiwan two years ago.

According to a special task force led by Tainan prosecutors and police officers, Wang's statement is confusing and they have to be very careful to be sure Wang has not made a false confession.

"He said he decided to shoot the president because the president's parade disturbed his nap," said Liao Tsung-shan (廖宗山), the captain of the Tainan City Police Department's Criminal Investigation Corps.

"He also said that he dropped the pistol into the Tainan Canal after the shooting. But we really doubt what he told us. For example, he still could not clearly identify the location where he opened fire ... In addition to the interrogation, we have to determine whether he is suffering from any mental problems before we decide to search for the alleged missing pistol in the canal."

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