Gangster dead after shootout with cops in Kaohsiung City

A suspect being investigated for a kidnapping and ransom case was declared dead in hospital after being shot several times during a shootout with police in Kaohsiung City this morning, March 2.

Police from Chiayi City Police Department, the Criminal Investigation Bureau, and Kaohsiung City Police Department were investigating a 57-year-old man named Lee, who is suspected of masterminding the kidnapping and ransom of a wealthy businessman in Chiayi City in January.

Lee was driving a white BMW SUV near Mincheng 4th Road in Gushan District, when police located him at 9:10 am today. After first attempting to evade police, Lee parked his car across the road from a high-end gated community that includes the residence of former President Chen Shui-bian.

Lee pulled a handgun, and is suspected of firing at the police officers. Police officers returned fire, peppering Lee’s car with bullets, and shooting Lee Multiple times. More than 20 shots were fired during the shootout, according to China Times, and United Daily News.

Lee was found unconscious, slumped in the driver’s seat clasping a Glock pistol loaded with 13 bullets. Lee lost vital signs, and was declared dead at Kaohsiung Municipal United Hospital at 11:45 am.

An investigation began January 25 after a businessman and temple director named Ke was kidnapped and held for ransom in Chiayi City January 24.

According to the investigation, Ke was forced into a car by 5 men after he walked out of a massage parlor at 3:30 am, January 24.

Ke was released around two hours later after his family and associates paid an NT$3 million ransom.

police at scene of shooting

The investigation team obtained six arrest warrants, and 15 search warrants this morning. Fifty-seven police officers were mobilized in six groups to hunt down Lee and five other suspects. Two other suspects have been arrested and three remain at large, Chiayi City Police Chief Huang Jianrong told reporters.

Lee had previous criminal records for robbery and firearms offences, and had been in and out of prison all his life, according to police statements.

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