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September 21, 2017

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Sean Lien shot in head at rally

A son of former Vice President Lien Chan was shot and injured in the head while stumping for a ruling Kuomintang candidate in Taipei County yesterday, police said.

Sean Lien (連勝文) was rushed to the National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH), where doctors said the victim was in stable condition despite the severity of the wound.

The doctors said Lien was conscious upon arrival at the hospital, and he was being operated on as of press time.

A suspect, surnamed Lin, was nabbed with a handgun and two fully-loaded magazines, but the motivation of the attack remained unknown, police said. Two accomplices remained at large, some reports added.

President Ma Ying-jeou and all major KMT candidates expressed shock at the shooting, and condemned the violence.

"We will never tolerate such violence," said Ma, adding he already ordered Premier Wu and other officials to investigate the incident and catch the accomplices, if any.

A 29-year-old man in the audience was also rushed to a hospital in Yonghe, where he was later pronounced dead, reports said.

The last major case of election violence occurred in 2004 when then-President Chen Shui-bian was shot and injured in Tainan on the eve of the presidential vote.

Lien was stumping for a KMT candidate in the Xinbei City council race at an elementary school in Yungho last night when a gunman fired at him.

Some reports said the assailant went up to the stage and shot at Lien's face point-blank. He fired another shot at the audience before he was subdued by others on stage, the reports said.

NTHU doctors said the bullet entered Lien's left cheek and came out from the right temple. But no harm was done to his brain.

Lien, a former chairman of the EasyCard company, had earlier stumped for Taipei City Mayor Hau Lung-bin at the reelection-seeking incumbent's rally before going to the Yungho event.

His father, after visiting his injured son at NTHU, showed up at Hau's rally and condemned the violence.

Hau described the incident as the most serious case of election violence ever in Taiwan's history, asking supporters to pray for the victim.

Taichung Mayor Jason Hu ended his rally early upon learning of Lien's mishap, citing security concerns.

Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman and Xinbei mayoral candidate Tsai Ing-wen made a three-point statement at around 10:15 p.m. condemning this instance of what she termed "gangster violence." She said that the ruling Kuomintang is mostly responsible for Taiwan's worsening public safety and called for the public not to "jump to conclusions" or "politicize" the incident before the facts are revealed.

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