Thu, Mar 04, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Tainan county speaker denies ties to mafia ring

GAMBLING Police accused Wu Chien-bao of making NT$50 million by betting on the TAIEX and hiring a member of the Four Seas Gang to help him collect the debt

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tainan County Council Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Speaker Wu Chien-bao (吳健保) yesterday denied allegations that he was involved in a local gambling and mafia ring.

The allegations were originally made by the police and were published by Chinese-language newspapers on Tuesday. According to the allegations, Wu bet on the TAIEX and made NT$50 million in cash.

The bookmaker could not pay Wu this large amount at once, so Wu allegedly asked Chang Chao-lin (張肇麟), a "member of the central standing committee" of the Four Seas Gang -- one of Taiwan's most notorious organized crime groups -- to use force to make the bookmaker pay up. Wu allegedly agreed to pay NT$18 million of the NT$50 million to Chang as commission.

According to the allegations, Chang was supposed to pay Wu NT$32 million but the latter ended up with only NT$6 million in cash. Wu allegedly was upset and decided to ask other gangsters to go after Chang and force him to pay the rest, because he felt that Chang had double-crossed him.

"I never invested anything on the stock market. I do not gamble, either," Wu said.

"In addition, I do not know Chang at all, and, needless to say, I have nothing to do with the mafia."

Wu said that a friend of his was cheated out of lots of money by somebody he barely knew. He decided to help his friend since this friend came to him for help. Wu said that he was merely negotiating for both parties.

"I never asked any gangsters to work for me. This is absurd," Wu said.

Wu's remarks were endorsed by the county council's secretary, Chen Jung-chin (陳榮欽).

"I can assure you that Wu did not invest in the stock market because he does not understand investments at all," Chen said.

"It is a malicious lie if somebody says he won NT$50 million by betting on the TAIEX," he said.

"As for the mafia allegation, it is impossible. Think about this, it is Wu's money after all. Why does he have to do something like that? It does not make any sense, does it?" he said.

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