Fri, Mar 17, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Interior minister slams Ma's critique

2004 ASSASSINATION BID The shooting and resulting investigations were the topics of conversation at a meeting of the legislature's Home and Nations Committee

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kao Chien-chih, center, is helped by two colleagues to hold up a poster of two pictures of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou during a question-and-answer session yesterday. The text reads:``He's not bald, he just has a receding hairline.'' Kao said that from a certain angle, Ma's scalp reflects light although he is not bald. The legislators made the remarks in reference to Chen Yi-hsiung, the suspect in the March 19, 2004, assassination attempt, who police had described as a ``bald man.'' Chen's family said earlier this week that Chen had a receding hairline but was not bald.

PHOTO: LIU HSIN-DE, TAIPEI TIMES

Minister of the Interior Lee Yi-yang (李逸洋) took offense yesterday at Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) comment that the official investigation report on the March 19, 2004, assassination attempt was humiliating for the police.

"Ma, as an important political leader of the nation, should not make groundless remarks to humiliate the police in order to achieve his political goals," Lee said in the legislature's Home and Nations Committee yesterday.

Lee said he would be very happy to have a public debate with Ma "for three days and three nights" to clear up the matter.

On Wednesday Ma said "it will be a great humiliation for the police and judicial system if the investigation into the 319 shooting incident reaches no conclusion this time."

Lee said Ma shouldn't make such an unfair judgment because the police serve the country, not any political party.

The Taipei mayor told reporters later that investigators needed to convince the public of their findings, not him.

"Political figures should focus their efforts on finding the truth ?[Lee] doesn't need to persuade me. He should persuade all of the public," Ma said.

Both Lee and National Police Agency Director-General Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) had been asked to attend yesterday's committee meeting by People First Party (PFP) Legislator Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀), one of the committee's chairs, to brief members on the investigation report.

Chang Hsi-kuang (張曦光), a member of a group that published a private investigation report into the shooting was also invited to the meeting.

Chang Hsien-yao had also asked Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) to attend the meeting as a victim of the shooting. Lu didn't appear.

During the meeting, opposition legislators and Chang Hsi-kuang raised several questions on the shooting.

"The incident was investigated for one year and five months. While not everyone was happy with the investigation process, it was not flawed," Hou said.

Hou said he would welcome anyone who could provide new evidence to the police because it was not a problem for the police and prosecutors to reopen the investigation if there were new clues or information.

Chang Hsi-kuang said family members of alleged shooter Chen Yi-hsiung (陳義雄) had been forced to confess that Chen was the shooter.

"Chen's family members told me that they were asked to write an apology which began with `As for the incident that Chen [Yi-hsiung] shot the president.' Originally, they had written `As for Chen's involvement [in the incident],'" Chang Hsi-kuang said.

He said the family members were asked by Prosecutor Wang San-jung (王森榮) of the Tainan District Prosecutors' Office to change the sentence.

Wang called a press conference in Tainan later in the day to say that the family members had requested that the change be made to their statement.

In other developments, DPP Legislator Wang Hsing-nan (王幸男) announced he would sue the Chen family because they "destroyed" evidence implicating him in the shooting.

Meanwhile, Vice President Lu voiced her opposition yesterday to the legislature setting up a second committee to investigate the 2004 shooting.

She said any probe should be left up to the new state public prosecutor-general.

She said her opposition was based on the need to safeguard the separation of powers between the legislative and judicial branches of government.

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