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August 18, 2017

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319 gunsmith extradited from China

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The alleged gunsmith behind the weapon used in the 2004 presidential election eve shooting was extradited back to Taiwan from China yesterday, bringing new hope of a conclusion to one of the country's most controversial incidents.

Tang Shou-yi (唐守義), who is wanted for his alleged role in modifying the gun used in the March 19, 2004 shooting incident involving then-President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at around 2 p.m. yesterday.

Escorted by Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) agents, Tang, wearing a face mask, did not respond to reporters' questions at the airport.

He was sent to the CIB before being taken to the southern city of Tainan, where he is wanted by the Tainan District Prosecutors.

Tang was reportedly arrested by Chinese authorities in Xiamen, China last week.

On the day before the 11th presidential election, then-President Chen and his running mate Lu, running for re-election as the Democratic Progressive Party candidates, were shot while riding in an open-top jeep during a campaign motorcade in Tainan. Both suffered minor injuries.

The assassination attempt, dubbed the "319 Incident," was thought to have earned Chen and Lu sympathy votes, helping them win the election by a narrow margin.

Investigators later tracked down Tang, accusing him of making the bullets and modifying the gun used in the shooting. Authorities later said Tang had confessed to the charges.

Tang was indicted over the charges but fled to China in August 2006 before his trial was over. He was listed as a wanted person in November the same year.

Police also tracked down the suspected shooter, Chen Yi-hsiung (陳義雄), who was later found dead in what was believed to be suicide.

In a DVD sent from Macau in 2006, Tang claimed that both he and Chen Yi-hsiung were scapegoats.

Asked to comment on Tang's arrest, Special Investigation Division spokesman Chen Hung-ta (陳宏達) yesterday said that they cannot comment on ongoing investigations, but stressed that the division was taking great lengths to ensure the case proceeds smoothly.

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