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Taiwan president shot, wound not critical

TAIPEI - President Chen Shui-bian was shot and wounded Friday while campaigning in southern Taiwan for Saturday's controversial election, the president's office said. He sustained a serious stomach wound but was not critically injured, according to a lawmaker traveling with him. Chen is believed to have been wearing a bullet-proof vest, protecting him from more serious injury.

Vice President Annette Lu sustained a foot injury, the office said. Chen, 53, was rushed to the hospital, but he was reportedly conscious and urged calm.

The presidential election and a referendum on national security will be held as planned on Saturday, the presidential spokesman said.

Initial reports were confused and indicated that Chen might have been injured by a firecracker as he traveled in an open car in a motorcade during a campaign trip to the southern town of Tainan. CTI cable news quoted unidentified police officials as saying Chen was injured by fireworks that often are ignited in campaigns and set off as the official motorcade passed.

Wang Hsin-nan, a lawmaker from Chen's Democratic Progressive Party, however, told television channel TVBS that he saw the wound and it was deep, extending 30 centimeters across his stomach. He was certain the president had suffered a gunshot injury.

The NT$ fell 1.5 percent on first reports of the shooting, but recovered some ground after officials said he was not critically injured. Hong Kong stocks dropped by as much as 1.1 percent.

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Mar 20, 2004


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