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Airgun attack not linked to tourists

TAIWAN police have said they don't think a mainland tour group was the target of an airgun attack that damaged two yachts on Sun Moon Lake on Wednesday, China News Service reported yesterday.

The wind shields of two yachts, including the President One, which once served Chiang Kai-shek, were shot by an airgun several times.

The President One had its right front windshield broken by one pellet, while the other boat, Minghong, had each of its two windshields broken, police said.

Officers have picked up airgun pellets at the scene and confirmed the vandalism took place either on Tuesday night or on early Wednesday.

Police also discovered several streetlights in a park next to the wharf had been damaged with airgun pellets.

The attack came before a visit to the lake by 1,600 mainlanders. The President One was not one of the 20 yachts chartered for the group and had never served mainland tourists before, police have excluded any links between the sabotage and mainland tour group's visit.

The captain of the President One found his yacht had been damaged at about 9am on Wednesday, according to Southeast Express.

The mainland tour group encountered protests from a local woman when they were having their first lunch on the island.

The group was welcomed by local media and restaurant staff at about 1:30pm in Taipei after visiting the National Palace Museum.

A woman protested outside the restaurant but was told to leave by police and the restaurant's owner.

The Shin Kong Mitsukoshi department store, which accommodated the group on a two-hour shopping trip, dispatched all its female shop assistants to wait at its gates and hand out small gifts to group members.

Premier Wen Jiabao expressed his desire to go to Taiwan at a press conference in Beijing last Friday.

"Although I am 67 years old, if it is possible, I would like to go to Taiwan," he said. "Even if I can no longer walk due to old age, I will crawl to Taiwan.

"I have long cherished the hope of going to the treasure island," he said.

"I really want to go to Alishan Mountain, Sun Moon Lake and many other places."


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