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Report released on Taiwan election shooting
Updated: 2004-06-24 17:17

Police in Taiwan on Thursday released a report on the mysterious election-eve shooting that slightly injured Chen Shui-bian, but it failed to quash popular conspiracy theories that the incident was staged to sway the vote.

Results of the simulated shootings ruled out the possibility that the gunshot wound that grazed Chen's stomach hours before the March 20 vote was faked.

``The conditions matched those of the shooting,'' Criminal Investigation Bureau investigator Chen Hsiao-kuei told reporters.

But police have yet to arrest the suspect or obtain other solid leads that might convincingly debunk theories that the shooting was arranged by pro-Chen politicians or gangsters.

The opposition candidate Lien Chan has claimed the shooting gave Chen an unfair last-minute boost that helped the Chen win by a tiny margin. He is demanding an independent task force be created to probe the shooting.

Chen has insisted that he had nothing to do with the shooting.

Chen and his running mate Annette Lu were riding in an open Jeep when they were shot during a campaign parade in the southern city of Tainan. Lu was hit in her knee.

Police said they built two handguns similar to the ones that were made by an underground workshop and used in the incident. The handguns were loaded with lead and bronze bullets and stuffed with firework explosives to reconstruct the shooting.

Simulated shootings were conducted on a dummy man wearing the same jacket, shirt and underwear as those put on by Chen, its stomach wrapped with pork skin to mimic the crime.

``All three gunshots pierced through the jacket, shirt and underwear, and they caused scratches on the skin or pierced through the skin,'' investigator Chen said.

Police said the report will be handed to U.S. forensic expert Henry Lee, who was compiling a report on the shooting.

Lee made a fact-finding trip to Taiwan in June. But he said police did not immediately seal off the crime scene and investigators were left with few clues.

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