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U.S. EXPERTS: REPORT ON MARCH 19 SHOOTING TO BE READY BY MID-APRIL

2004-03-30 23:24:01

    Taipei, March 30 (CNA) Three U.S. forensic experts invited to Taiwan to look into the March 19 shooting of President Chen Shui-bian said Tuesday that they will have completed their report on the incident by mid-April.

    At a press conference before they left the country Tuesday night, the three said they had collected a lot of material that needs to be tested and analyzed and that until this work has been done, it will be impossible to reach a conclusion on the shooting.

    However, they said through an interpreter that their preliminary investigation, including a private interview with President Chen Shui-bian, suggested that the wound might have been caused by a bullet rather than any other object as some critics of Chen have suggested.

    The bullet might not have been fired from a regular firearm, a possibility that makes their investigation more difficult, said the U.S. experts.

    Noting that they are forensic experts and not detectives, the three said their investigation focuses on whether the shooting was genuine and their conclusion might not be helpful in finding the perpetrator.

    The three -- Dr. Cyril Wecht, an acclaimed forensic pathologist; Michael G. Haag, a forensic firearms expert with U.S. Forensic Science Consultants, Inc.; and Timothy Palmbach, a crime scene investigative specialist -- were invited by local prosecutors to verify the incident.

    They arrived Sunday and during their whirlwind stay in Taiwan, they called on Chen, visited the scene of the shooting in Tainan City and went to the Chi Mei Medical Center, where the president sought treatment after the March 19 incident.

(By Maubo Chang)

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