Prosecute Those Who Obstructed Investigation of the 3/19 Shooting Incident
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
March 21, 2012
Summary: This is the eighth anniversary of the 3/19 Shooting Incident, which had a major impact on political and social evolution on Taiwan. Most people have been unwilling to revisit this event, which tore society apart. The key figures in the shooting incident were former president Chen Shui-bian and former vice president Annette Lu. Paradoxically, they are the very ones who have called on the Ma administration to reopen the case. The DPP legislative caucus has proposed the establishment of a fact-finding commission within the Legislative Yuan. These moves have left observers wondering. Maybe the shooting was a hoax after all?
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This is the eighth anniversary of the 3/19 Shooting Incident, which had a major impact on political and social evolution on Taiwan. Most people have been unwilling to revisit this event, which tore society apart. The key figures in the shooting incident were former president Chen Shui-bian and former vice president Annette Lu. Paradoxically, they are the very ones who have called on the Ma administration to reopen the case. The DPP legislative caucus has proposed the establishment of a fact-finding commission within the Legislative Yuan. These moves have left observers wondering. Maybe the shooting was a hoax after all?
The 3/19 Shooting Incident occurred eight years ago, on the eve of the presidential election. It is widely seen as the reason for the election upset. Two bullets allowed Chen and Lu to win re-election, by the slimmest of margins. Following the incident, the National Security Bureau and the president's right-hand man Chiou I-jen, replete with his Cheshire Cat smile, prevented Chang Shi-liang, former National Police Administration Chief, from entering Chi Mei hospital to investigate. As a result, over half the people do not believe the incident was a genuine assassination attempt.
Over the next four years, the ruling and opposition parties spent most of their time at loggerheads with each other. The Chen regime invited internationally renowned forensic scientist Henry Lee home to investigate. But even he could not gain the public trust. Eight years later, Henry Lee expressed regret. He conducted so many investigations. This one was a "minor case." But due to political factors, it was the most difficult one he ever dealt with.
As a forensic scientist, Henry Lee could only carry out forensic analysis of the physical evidence. He discovered the vehicle used during the presidential campaign had not been properly taken into evidence. This raised eyebrows. Some think those in charge may even have replaced the car's windshield. If so, Henry Lee's painstaking forensic analysis was all for naught.
Henry Lee even cited "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," a TV series the public on Taiwan is familiar with. He said real world cases are handled very differently from the way they are depicted on TV. To conduct a proper investigation one needs a good team. One needs good detectives, crime scene investigators, forensic specialists, medical examiners, and prosecutors. The TV series was correct about one thing. The physical evidence must be analyzed as soon as possible. The chain of custody must be maintained to avoid suspicion that it has been altered or damaged. Failure to do so could lead to questions about the credibility of the investigation. That is how we know the investigation of the 3/19 Shooting Incident was carried out reluctantly, under unprofessional circumstances.
The crime scene was also the scene of a mass gathering. It was almost completely destroyed. The two bullets were retrieved long after the incident took place. The authorities used the bullets to find the pistol. They used the pistol to find the suspects. They tracked the pistol to Tang Shou-yi, the maker of the pistol. But was this home-made pistol really powerful enough to fire two rounds in a matter of seconds? No one can answer this question. The pistol was tracked to its owner, Chen Yi-hsiung. But he was already dead. Not only had he drowned, he had been hastily cremated, without a post-mortem, in contravention of normal procedure. It is now impossible to determine whether Chen Yi-hsiung drowned, or was already dead when he landed in the water.
Annette Lu was shot. She has never believed the police and prosecutors' account of the 3/19 Shooting Incident. She has long suspected that she was the real target. Alleged gunman Chen Yi-hsiung's family members have long maintained that there was sufficient evidence to prove he was the perpetrator. They want Chen Yi-hsiung's name cleared. But the case was mishandled. Discovering the truth at this late date is no longer possible. None of the questions have been answered over the past eight years. Many members of the public have offered their own accounts of the incident. Academia Sinica researcher Chu Hung-yuan says the 3/19 Shooting Incident was unquestionably a hoax. He even claims to have three witnesses. All he needs is for the case to be reopened.
Lest we forget, eight years ago the KMT established a Truth Commission within the legislature. The Chen regime could easily have cooperated with the Truth Commission investigation and proved Chen Shui-bian's innocence. It could easily have proved that he did not orchestrate a false flag operation. Instead, Chen did everything in his power to obstruct the investigation. He even declared an "executive right of resistance." Former Justice Minister Wang Ching-feng attempted to investigate. Chen denied her access to the information and the witnesses. Her efforts ran into a brick wall, and went nowhere.
Eight years ago, Chen Shui-bian and the DPP refused to uncover the truth. Now suddenly, eight years later. they want the current legislature to establish a fact-finding commission to uncover the truth. The two bullets are in the custody of the CIB. But what other evidence can legislators examine? Then presidential bodyguard Chen Chai-fu made a last moment phone call to Chen Shui-bian. Just exactly what was the call about? And what about the vehicle they used. None of these will help us discover the truth. Does the DPP expect Chen Chai-fu to confess that he orchestrated a hoax? Former CIB Commissioner Hou Yu-yi is now Xinbei City deputy mayor. Does the DPP expect him to confess that he conspired with Chen Shui-bian to fake the grazing wound on his abdomen? Does the DPP expect former Agricultural Minister and former National Security Council Secretary-General Chiou I-jen to confess that the shooting was a hoax, and that Chen Shui-bian was its mastermind?
Chen Shui-bian and the DPP's biggest mistake eight years ago was to stonewall the Truth Commission, and to flatly refuse to allow a credible investigation to take place. They left a black mark on the island's history that can never be erased. This black mark haunts Chen Shui-bian. The people do not trust Chen Shui-bian. They do not believe the 3/19 Shooting Incident was a genuine assassination attempt. They believe the Chen regime orchestrated a false flag operation against itself. Chen wants the Ma administration to reopen the case. Chen knows the Ma administration cannot possibly uncover the truth. The public knows this. The Ma administration can do one thing however. It can prosecute the police, the prosecutors, and the national security personnel who obstructed the fact-finding process. It can make them pay for concealing the truth, and for dividing the nation.