Fri, Dec 20, 2002 - Page 4 News List

Lawyer under police protection after kidnapping

ABDUCTION The owner of a successful legal firm was abducted and then tortured by a notorious gangster, who demanded a share of his business

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei and Kaohsiung City police departments yesterday confirmed a report that Taiwan's most distinguished commercial lawyer was kidnapped on Dec. 9 before being tortured and robbed of NT$50 million and 25 percent of the shares in his legal practice.

The police said that they have been investigating the case since the lawyer reported it to them on Dec. 10, after he was released. The lawyer is now under police protection.

Police declined to supply further details.

The story was first reported by a TV station yesterday morning. The story said that Tu and Amida Trust Law Firm (揭諦信託專業法律事務所) owner Tu Jin-shu (涂錦樹) -- believed by many to be Taiwan's best lawyer in business law -- had been the victim of a kidnapping and extortion by a gang leader surnamed Hsu from the Bamboo Union (竹聯幫), one of Taiwan's major organized crime groups.

The report said that Hsu and Tu had known each other since January of this year. That's when Hsu found out that Tu earned a lot of money from his legal business. During a meeting on Dec. 9, Hsu reportedly asked to be made a shareholder in Tu's law firm, but Tu refused.

Hsu then allegedly kidnapped Tu and took him to Kaohsiung, where Hsu tortured Tu to force Tu agree to the proposal. Tu was reported to have demanded a NT$100 million ransom -- a demand which was refused by Hsu.

On Dec. 10, the report said, Tu was released after being forced to give up 25 percent of the shares in his law firm to Hsu and signing a check, made out to Hsu, for NT$50 million.His abduction lasted 12 hours.

Tu could not be reached for comment and, when asked, employees at his law firm denied all the allegations about the case.

"Tu has never been kidnapped and he has never been to Kaohsiung recently. There must be some misunderstanding," said one of Tu's aides, who wished to remain anonymous.

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