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The Semi-Final Cut

Last month, I did a short post noting an assassination attempt on the President and Vice President of Taiwan, just before polling.

The plot, however, continues to thicken. The election happened, and President Chen was re-elected by a wafer thin margin, with the use of tactics that you wouldn’t get away with at the greyhounds, as we say ‘Down Under’.

Defeated KMT candidate Lian Chan and his supporters aren’t taking it lying down. They have demanded that there be a recount, and President Chen has agreed to this. Moreover, he has also agreed to a team of US investigators coming over to investigate his shooting.

I cannot claim to be an authority on assassination attempts, but this case does bewilder me. He was shot at close range, yet the shooter seemed unable or unwilling to aim at the head; the shooter was surrounded by the President’s supporters, yet he managed to evade capture, and remains a mystery to this day who it actually was. The responsible Minister and the police chief have resigned.

Can it really be that the President staged an assassination attempt and took a bullet in order to get re-elected? It sounds insane, but the circumstances are suspicious! It’s not quite The Final Cut, but Michael Dobbs would surely be impressed!

5 comments to The Semi-Final Cut

  • James

    I’m guessing it was caught on both media and amateur cameras. Has “Mr. Zapruder-chi” come forward yet?

  • BigFire

    I’m sticking to my favorite conspiracy theory. Large wagers (billions) was placed on the outcome of this election (Chinese people like to gamble, though I’m somewhat immune to that). The conspiracy theory goes like this: The gambling syndicates who are the house in the vast majority of these illegal bets are concerned that too much money are being wagered on the KMT side, and a KMT victory will cost them lots of money. They staged this fake assasination attempt. The end result is something that can only happened once in a blue moon. The vote count is currently in a sweat spot for the syndicates, since the victory margin is within the point-spread either way. They don’t have to payout to anyone. Of course, that’s just a theory.

    Oh, don’t underestimate the power of these criminal syndicates. The stock market boom in the early 90s in Taiwan is driven in part by the underground network of unofficial loans. When the boom goes bust, lots of people lost their shirts.

  • andy

    Some small-caliber handgun bullets will not penetrate bone, so more damage can actually be done by shots to the ribcage which can easily go between ribs and do organ damage. Also, I would not think that a shooter standing in a press of people would take the classic “arms stuck way out in front” position necessary to actually aim for a target such as a head. While necessary for accuracy, perhaps it would draw undue attention… maybe they were shooting from the hip?

    Yes, but if mister Zapruder-chi did come forth, there would be endless debate as to the authenticity of the material, and argument over what exactly was caught on film…

  • Scott

    So far no footage has emerged, and it seems unlikely that any will.

    The theory that organized crime did it because of the prospect of huge gambling losses appears quite popular.

    The shots were apparently fired as a round of firecrackers was set off. There was some confusion for the first hour or so as to whether Chen had actually been shot or if he had just been injured by an rogue firecracker.

  • “President Chen was re-elected by a wafer thin margin, with the use of tactics that you wouldn’t get away with at the greyhounds”
    Scott, what tactics are you talking about? The campaigning by both sides before the election was pretty dirty and divisive – but probably no worse than we can expect from the US elections later this year. The losing party (KMT) have alleged all sorts of illegalities – but have yet to provide a single shred of evidence to back any of them up. Finally, as you point out, President Chen has been amazingly keen to agree to a recount (even offering to change the election law retroactively to make it easier) – not the actions of someone with something to hide. Until I see some evidence to the contrary, the election in Taiwan has been more open and well-organised than most Western elections (US included).

    As to the assassination attempt: you have to be smoking something pretty strong to think that the president would be willing to take a bullet in the stomach (if the shooters aim is good) on the off-chance he might get a few thousand more votes. I think Chen Shui-Bien sums it up pretty well: “So, I stand in the car, and then a guy is going to shoot me with a bullet, through the windshield into my abdomen, but I should be careful to turn aside so the bullet will only cut a half-inch slice through me? . . . . What’s Plan B?”