Fri, Sep 20, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Concern over violence in Kaohsiung

STREET BRAWLS:Between Tuesday and yesterday, 435 police officers were dispatched to the scenes of violent incidents, leading to the deputy minister of the interior’s visit

By Huang Liang-chieh and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer and CNA

Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen, center, speaks to reporters yesterday in Kaohsiung about violent incidents triggered by a dispute between two livestream hosts.

Photo: Huang Liang-chieh, Taipei Times

Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥) yesterday traveled to Kaohsiung to address an increasing number of violent incidents that are seen as a threat to public safety.

Twenty-five people were detained by police after a pet supplies store was vandalized, leading to street brawls, the Kaohsiung Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Corps said.

It believes the incident was caused by a dispute between two livestream hosts and it has formed a task force with the local police precincts involved to investigate the case, it said.

It has identified and is searching for suspects still at large, it added.

Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) asked Chen to travel to Kaohsiung to listen to Criminal Investigation Bureau and Kaohsiung Police Department reports about the violent incidents, Chen said.

Over the past few months, violent incidents have continued to take place in the city and if public safety is not “sorted out,” it could become cause for concern during the campaigning period for January’s presidential and legislative elections, he said.

National Police Agency Director-General Chen Ja-chin (陳家欽) also sent Criminal Investigation Bureau Commissioner Huang Ming-chao (黃明昭) to Kaohsiung to host a meeting on the violence.

Some of the suspects involved in the case are thought to be affiliated with organized crime gangs, Huang said before the meeting.

Some had allegedly traveled from other cities and counties to participate in the violence, he said.

Depending on the situation, the agency could send more officers to Kaohsiung to deal with the violence, he added.

Between Tuesday and yesterday, 435 police officers were dispatched to the scenes of violent incidents, the Kaohsiung Police Department said.

The department pledged to continue to address street violence to allow residents to live in a “calm and peaceful” environment, it said.

So far this year, there have been 19,567 criminal cases in the city, down 2.09 percent compared with the same period last year, and of those, 94.72 percent have been solved, up 2.08 percent compared with the same period last year, it said

The latest violent incidents are “isolated cases,” it said.

The local government has a zero-tolerance policy on violence and cares deeply about the safety of its residents, Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) told reporters.

“I am issuing the strongest warning to the chief of the local precinct that if a similar incident happens, he will be replaced,” the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate said.

Next to go would be the head of the Kaohsiung Police Department, he said.

Generally speaking, Kaohsiung is still a safe place to live, he added.

Additional reporting by Ann Maxon

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