Slain Chinese-American journalist Henry Liu was attacked because he wrote articles and books critical of Taiwan and its president, law enforcement authorities said Wednesday in an affidavit filed in San Mateo County Municipal Court here.
The affidavit, containing an account of the crime based on police interviews with a suspect in custody in Taiwan, said Liu's assailants had intended to beat him to teach him a "lesson," but that the writer was shot to death when he resisted his attackers.
It was the first official statement on the motive for the Oct. 15 killing, which has sparked an international controversy. Three top military intelligence officials in Taiwan have been implicated in the killing, and the suspicion of further government complicity has shaken the government of Taiwan President Chiang Ching-kuo.
Wu Tun, 34, a prime suspect in the murder, was told by Chen Chi-Li, the man who allegedly ordered the attack, "that Liu had written some bad things about Taiwan and its president," Daly City Police Lt. Thomas Reese said in the affidavit. Reese interviewed Wu in Taiwan, where Wu, Chen and the three intelligence officials are in custody.
The affidavit was filed at the courthouse here to back a request for a warrant charging Wu with Liu's murder. A Municipal Court judge issued that warrant Wednesday, although U.S. authorities remain doubtful that Wu will be extradited to face charges here.
Taiwan has no extradition treaty with the Unity States, which broke off diplomatic ties with the island nation five years ago.
Wu named Chen, reputed head of the United Bamboo gang, Taiwan's strongest organized crime group--as the man who requested that he "help teach Henry Liu a lesson."
Murder Warrant Pending
A murder warrant is already pending for Chen, who was also interrogated by Reese in Taiwan and admitted complicity in the crime, Reese has said. Reese was not allowed to talk to the military intelligence officers being held.
Wu's statement buttresses claims by Liu's family and friends that the journalist was assassinated because of his writings. They have speculated that the murder was ordered by the Taiwan government.
However, the affidavit did not say whether Chen was acting on orders from the government.
Wu told investigators that Chen had asked him to help "beat up or fix up" Liu. But as it turned out, when Wu and another, unidentified Bamboo gang member cornered Liu in the garage of his Daly City home, Liu struggled. That prompted Wu to pull a .38-caliber handgun from his waistband and fire, the affidavit said.
The second gunman also fired.
Police already have named Tung Kuei-sen, who remains at large, possibly in the Philippines, as the suspected second gunman.