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Tue, Jul 11, 2000 - Page 2 News List

Exiled gang boss to face courts

CAMBODIA Former gang boss Chen Chi-li will go to court after being arrested at home with 21 weapons

By Liu Shao-hua  /  STAFF REPORTER IN PHNOM PENH

Chen Chi-li (陳啟禮), a former gang leader in Taiwan now living in Cambodia, is likely to face court proceedings this evening or early tomorrow on gun possession charges.

Chen was arrested at his Phnom Penh home in a joint military and municipal police raid on Saturday, which resulted in the confiscation of 21 weapons. The Cambodian government put in place strict regulations on guns a year ago.

Cambodian law dictates that people must face court proceedings within 48 hours of their arrest.

Cambodian police allegedly were incensed by repeated broadcasts on Taiwanese cable TV channels -- widely available in Cambodia -- of Chen showing off his guns to Taiwanese reporters, and so moved to arrest him.

Reports on Chen featured prominently in several Taiwanese newspapers, which can be easily obtained in stores in the capital.

"The Taiwanese media is stuck on Chen Chi-li," a local Cambodian reporter surnamed Shih said. "No one would broadcast guns so boldly on television."

The reporter said the authorities were forced to act out of fear the broadcasts would be sent around the world and damage Cambodia's reputation.

Another Chinese-Cambodian reporter surnamed Huang, who has covered business associations for six years, said Taiwanese newspapers had sensationalized the story.

A report in a Taiwanese daily highlighted Chen's involvement in another Chinese gang and disputes between business associations yesterday. However, Chen had little to do with China or local business associations in Cambodia, Huang said.

Many of Chen's acquaintances said they did not understand why Chen had so brazenly showed his guns to reporters on July 4. "He is going senile," one said.

Chen said at the time that the guns were bought for self-defense during the 1997 coup.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has reportedly asked Sao Sokha, chief of the military police, to be careful in his remarks to the press on the issue.

Phnom Penh mayor Chea Sothara said on Sunday that Chen would be charged with keeping illegal weapons

Chea also said that Chen had not been implicated in the murder last week of Lee Hsim-hsin (李志鑫), a Taiwanese businessman based in Phnom Penh.

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