Conspiracies abound after shooting of Chen


TAIPEI: The shooting of President Chen Shui-bian on the eve of his re-election remains shrouded in mystery after the opposition blamed the attack for his victory and police remained silent. 

Doctors released video footage and pictures yesterday of Chen's hospital visit after the attack to try to dispel conspiracy theories as the opposition blamed the shooting for his wafer-thin election victory the following day. 

As the investigation into the attack entered a third day, police remained tight-lipped about the inquiry, with the only suspect a mysterious man wearing a Chen T-shirt and a crash helmet seen fleeing from the scene on a motorcycle. 

Local media have speculated that the shooting was carried out by assassins backed by China, renegade political fanatics and even gangsters involved in lucrative betting scams over the result of the presidential race. 

However, only China has been officially ruled out during an investigation that the opposition demanded should yield results before the country went to the polls. 

Chen and Vice-President Annette Lu escaped with minor injuries when their convertible jeep was fired upon during campaigning in southern Tainan city. 

The pair were treated for injuries in the Chi Mei Hospital, Tainan, with Chen receiving 14 stitches for a gouge across his stomach and Lu treated for a graze to her knee. 

The lack of information from police has left those who voted for the losing presidential candidate, Lien Chan of the Kuomintang (KMT), suspicious about the circumstances of the attack. 

To counter the intense public debate and Lien's claims that “too many events cannot be accepted,” doctors released video footage and pictures showing a wounded Chen walking into hospital and being treated. They also released Chen and Lu's medical records. 

Presidential spokesman James Huang said medical records of the head of state were usually confidential, but that the president released them to stop the string of “rumours” and “controversies.” 

Conspiracy theorists have pointed to the fact he bypassed other major hospitals on the way to the Chi Mei, that little information was made available shortly after the attack and its timing, hours before the election. – AFP  

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