Hiker shot by bullet allegedly from military shooting range

Kaohsiung,  A 66-year-old man was hit by a bullet on the left ankle while hiking on Tzaishan mountain in Kaohsiung on Friday morning, leading local police to investigate if the bullet was from a nearby shooting range where the Navy’s Marine Corps was undergoing training.

The hiker, surnamed Chen (陳), told police that he was taking a break with friends at a tourist attraction on the mountain at 10:07 a.m. when he felt a sharp pain on his left ankle, according to the Gushan Precinct of the Kaohsiung City Police Bureau.

At the time he felt the pain, he said, he had been hearing the sound of “firecrackers.”

He took off his hiking boot to find he had been impaled by something sharp.

With help from friends and national park police, the man was driven to a hospital, where the doctor who treated him confirmed that the wound was caused by a gunshot, the police precinct said.

The man was reported to be conscious and recovering after surgery, said the doctor at Chung-Ho Hospital, which is run by Kaohsiung Medical University.

Police said they found a spent bullet at around 5 p.m. some 200 meters away from where the man was shot, and suspected that it was not a pistol bullet but a bullet from a rifle or machine gun, although definite identification could not be made until a ballistic examination had been carried out by experts.

An investigation has been launched to determine if the military’s shooting training should be held accountable for the accident after the Marine Corps confirmed that live-fire rifle training takes place between 8 a.m. and noon on Tzaishan.

There are two shooting ranges, both at a distance of 1.5-2 kilometers from the place where the man was hit. The military, however, declined to disclose at which shooting range Friday’s training took place.

The Marine Corps Command released a statement later in the day, in which it promised to cooperate with the police investigation and said that live-fire training on Tzaishan had been suspended.

It also said that if the military is determined as being the culprit behind the accident, it will review safety measures at the shooting ranges and reopen them only after improvements have been made.

 

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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