Taipei precinct chiefs were left red-faced yesterday after admitting that they did not know where gangster-turned-politician Chang An-le (張安樂) lives, during questioning at the Taipei City Council.
Chang, also known as the “White Wolf,” had threatened violence against students occupying the Legislative Yuan to protest the controversial cross-strait service trade agreement.
Once the nation’s most-wanted fugitive and the leader of the notorious Bamboo Union gang, Chang was released on NT$1 million (US$34,100) bail only hours after he was arrested upon his return to Taiwan on June 29 last year after spending the previous 17 years in China.
As the founder of the China Unification Promotion Party, Chang stepped into the limelight again on Tuesday when he led hundreds of supporters of the agreement in a failed operation to “take back the legislature.”
The legislature has been occupied by hundreds of students opposed to the service trade pact since March 18.
Responding to questions by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Hsu Shu-hua (許淑華), Wenshan First Precinct director-general Liu Hung-lieh (劉鴻烈) said police had inspected Chang’s registered address, but found that he did not actually live there, the Chinese-language United Daily News reported yesterday.
“We believe Chang is currently living in New Taipei City,” Liu was quoted as saying in the report.
Criminal Investigation Division director Huang Ming-chao (黃明昭) said the division had trouble contacting Chang, so it called his close aides instead to tell them to warn Chang against mobilizing gang members to join the Tuesday rally he initiated.
The pair’s answers drew immediate criticism from several DPP councilors, including Chou Wei-you (周威佑), Ho Chih-wei (何志偉), Hsu Chia-ching (徐佳青) and Juan Chao-hsiung (阮昭雄), who said it was the police’s failure to keep close tabs on “people deemed potentially dangerous to public security” that had fueled gang activity in the country.
The police department then contacted staff members and came back with a more definite answer: Chang’s current residence is in New Taipei City’s Jhonghe District (中和).
Meanwhile, the Taipei City Government also drew flak from city councilors, who accused it of trying to “cover up illegal activities by gangsters,” after city spokesman Chang Chi-chiang (張其強) said on Wednesday that Chang’s four-hour-long rally outside the legislature on Tuesday did not violate the Assembly and Parade Act (集會遊行法) because he was just “passing by.”
The law requires people planning to stage a protest to apply for an official permit six days before the rally.
“Chang An-le was only on his way to lodge an appeal [against the student movement] with Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平). Since he did not stage a rally, he did not do anything illegal,” Chang Chi-chiang said.
Hsu Shu-hua said Chang An-le must have been moving in incredibly slow motion, otherwise it would not have taken him four hours to “walk past the legislature.”
DPP Taipei City Councilor Wang Shih-chien (王世堅) refused to accept the city government’s explanation, saying: “If Chang An-le was really going to file an appeal with Wang Jin-pyng, was it necessary to bring hundreds of armed thugs?”