Tape uncovers new shooting conspiracy
By Jane Rickards, TAIPEI, Taiwan, Special to The China Post Saturday, April 10, 2004, 12:00 am TWN
Did the bullet that shot through the windscreen of President Chen's jeep on the day of the assassination attempt actually come out of his security guard's briefcase?
A video claiming to be television footage of the shooting attempt was released yesterday by People First Party legislator Chou Hsi-wei and a young woman, wearing a trench coat, dark glasses and a hat pulled well over her face, who would only give her name as "Miss Fu".
In the short film, President Chen and Vice President Annette Lu were standing and waving from the jeep. The film appeared no different from other television footage covering the assassination attempt.
Miss Fu played the video in slow motion and it was revealed that around 1.45 p.m., at the time of the shooting, as the jeep turned into Chihwa Street, the body guard standing behind Vice President Annette Lu picked up a black briefcase.
There appeared to be no reason for the bodyguard, who Miss Fu named as Lu Hsiao-min, to pick up the briefcase at all.
He held it up, pointing it slightly at the driver in the front seat, and Miss Fu and legislator Chou claimed it appeared as if Lu was taking aim to fire a gun.
After this, the bullet hole appeared in the wind screen.
The guard did not do anything in particular to the briefcase and put it down again.
Miss Fu and legislator Chou pointed out that it also appeared as if the bodyguard in the front passenger seat was ducking slightly. They speculated that the bullet fired could have come from the briefcase and this bodyguard could have been moving out of the way.
The video then focussed in very closely on the briefcase.
It did appear as if a small, black cylindrical object was protruding out of the top of the briefcase — but it was impossible to tell if it was a decoration on the briefcase or something more sinister.
"Doesn't it look like a gun?" Miss Fu asked.
Miss Fu said a people's organization had collected television footage and examined and replayed them for several days, before they discovered these incidents and put the film together, a pastiche of footage from different television stations. Miss Fu said she had to disguise her identity for security reasons.
"What we have shown here today is unedited and uncut," said Lu Yi-cheng, a consultant to the National Policy Research Foundation, who accompanied Miss Fu and Chou to the press conference yesterday.
The trio said they thought the footage they had would speak for itself
"People are intelligent enough to make their own conclusions," said Lu.
Additional sections of the video when played in slow motion showed other mysterious incidents.
At around the time of the assassination, one of the security guards outside the jeep ran up and rubbed something on President Chen's stomach from a white bottle, as President Chen waved to the crowds, apparently unaware.
"What he was doing there, we do not know," Lu said.
The bottle was passed to other security guards in the jeep.
As Miss Fu pointed out, although the security official seemed to be smearing some substance on President Chen, he did not bother to open up his jacket. It was applied on the jacket's surface.
Footage was also shown of a security official running furtively to take a bottle from the jeep parked at Chi Mei Hospital, after President Chen had been admitted as a patient.
Miss Fu said it was a bottle of ointment, a bottle which was also depicted in Vice President Annette Lu's personal account of the shooting, but she claimed it was a different bottle from the white bottle in the jeep. She asked what had happened to the white bottle.
In the footage, it was impossible to see the two bottles clearly.
Finally, they showed a film of President Chen on the morning of the assassination attempt in Kaohsiung. He appeared bulky, as if he was wearing a bullet-proof vest.
Chen's jacket appeared less bulky in the jeep in the afternoon, as he was not wearing a bullet-proof vest, leading onlookers to question why he removed the vest if he was wearing one in the morning.
In addition, his jacket looked worn and the sleeves were rolled up at Chi Mei hospital, leading Miss Fu and Chou to say it was a different jacket that was smaller and older.
Despite the arrival of forensic scientist Dr Henry Lee in Taipei to clear up the mystery, speculation surrounding the assassination attempt made on President Chen Shui-bian on the eve of the election is rising.
Conspiracy theories mushroomed among supporters of the People First Party yesterday.
PFP Legislator Lee Ching-hwa alone said he had material relating to over 40 suspicious incidents that he wished to present to forensic scientist Henry Lee, along with ten photographs.
PFP politicians yesterday also queried the authenticity of the X-rays that Chi Mei hospital officials had taken of President Chen's gunshot wounds.
Chi Mei hospital officials declined to comment yesterday.
Spokesman for the Presidential Office, Huang Wen-tsung, told local reporters that Chou and Miss Fu's press conference sounded like a media circus and queried why Miss Fu felt she had to disguise herself and not come forth with her true identity.
He said forensic scientist Henry Lee had reached Taipei to investigate the shooting and the evidence should speak for itself.
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