In response to a spate of street brawls, and in order to prevent interference in next year’s presidential election, the National Police Agency, in coordination with the Taiwan High Prosecutor’s Office, conducted five days of raids nationwide, arresting 397 people, this week.
Many of the arrested are members of Taiwan’s two largest criminal organizations – The Bamboo Union, and Heavenly Way Alliance. Police confiscated guns, ammunition, weapons, and drugs, and seized cash and assets valued at almost NT$100 million.
A total of 80 firearms were seized, including 15 standard guns, 32 modified guns, and 33 airguns. Six gun manufacturing operations – modifying non-lethal weapons into lethal weapons were uncovered during the sweep.
In Taipei City, a leader of the Song-lian gang, Wan Nian-Hsiang, 51, and nine other members were arrested for cases including the beating up of construction site workers, beating up and injuring waste company contractors, and demanding protection money from vegetable market operators. Mr Wan’s son, Wan Hsiao-cheng, who is currently awaiting imprisonment for his part in the death of a police officer who was beaten to death by a mob outside a Taipei nightclub in 2014, was also arrested alongside his father.
As well as being members of the Song-lian Gang, which has Chinese connections, four of the arrested are also members of the Chinese Unification Promotion Party, according to Liberty Times.
In other raids in New Taipei City’s Xindian, Banqiao, Zhonghe, Yonghe, Tucheng, and Sanxia districts, 46 people were arrested and four pistols confiscated.
In Taoyuan City, the Taoyuan Police Department conducted a series of raids from April 29 which saw 375 people arrested. Police seized 7 handguns, 254 rounds of ammunition, and 10.2 kilograms of drugs after conducting searches on 135 premises and setting up 32 roadside checkpoints.
Taoyuan City police said that targeting gangs to eliminate violent crimes in the city was the focus of the campaign. Members of the Bamboo Union, Four Seas Gang, and Heavenly Way Alliance were arrested.
Hsinchu County police arrested a total of 38 members of three gangs, the Fengfeisha, Four-seas, and Sanguang gangs for a range of crimes including violent debt collection, drug trafficking, protection rackets, and manufacturing firearms.
Two gun manufacturing operations, and six underground money-lending businesses were uncovered in Hsinchu County.
In Taichung City, 51 people were arrested over violent debt collection, attempting to influence elections, bribery, and offences relating to recent incidents of street violence and nightclub brawls.
Among those arrested in Taichung City were members of the Flying Eagle Gang, The Bamboo Union. Some of the gang members were also known to be members of pro-unification political groups.
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