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Would-be Assassin Resurfaces in a Changed Taiwan

May 6, 1996 GMT

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) _ Putting the government’s tolerance to a test, the man who tried to assassinate a son of Chiang Kai-shek surfaced today for the first time after returning to Taiwan illegally.

Peter Huang Wen-hsiung, 59, was welcomed home after 25 years in hiding by dozens of formerly blacklisted comrades who now lead the main opposition, the Democratic Progressive Party.

Huang was a doctoral candidate at Cornell University when he and his brother-in law, Cheng Tzu-tsai, tried on April 24, 1970, to kill Chiang Ching-kuo as he arrived at New York’s Plaza Hotel.

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Huang leaped forward with a loaded gun, but police wrestled him to the ground before he could fire. Cheng rushed to his aid and both were arrested.

Chiang, then vice premier, was not hurt and succeeded dictator Chiang Kai-shek as president eight years later.

Pleading guilty at their arraignment, Huang and Cheng jumped bail and fled to Europe. Cheng was extradited to the United States and served a five-year sentence for attempted murder, but Huang remained on the run.

He would not say where he spent his exile. He said he came back to Taiwan several weeks ago, but would not give details.

Although the statute of limitations on the assassination attempt has expired, the blacklist barring him from Taiwan has not, and he could be jailed for entering the country.

The government made no immediate comment on Huang’s re-emergence.

``Taiwan’s appearance, spirit and dynamics have changed so much,″ said Huang, who called a news conference to announce he was back in Taiwan. ``Now we have the democratic structure, but we still need a democratic culture.″