Mon, Apr 12, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Gangsters involved in violent weekend clashes, police say

STAFF WRITER

Gangsters were involved in Saturday's violent protest at the Presidential Office in which 86 policemen were injured, according to Wu Su-lu (吳思陸), the Taipei Police Bureau's Chung-cheng First Precinct chief.

Wu told a news conference yesterday that at least two Molotov cocktaiks were flung at police in the clashes between riot police and protesters, marking the worst conflict since the protests following the March 20 election.

The police arrested 21 sus-pects from Saturday night until early yesterday morning.

Among those arrested are Lai Hsin-hua (賴信樺), 36, who police claim was in possession of three bottles and a bucket of gasoline, and Lin Hsin-te (林新德), 49, who was carrying a catapult.

Both Lai and Lin denied assaulting the police.

Lai said he was planning to set himself on fire with the gasoline.

Lin said that his catapult was for self-defense in case he was attacked by pan-green supporters.

Unlike previous protests, a number of gangsters belonging to the Bamboo Union and Four Seas Gang took part in the demonstration, Wu said.

The police said that among the 21 people who were arrested, six were found to have previous criminal records for offences including violation of the Election and Recall Law (選罷法) and assault, and one is a wanted criminal convicted of burglary.

Wu said that the police had video recordings of gang members creating a commotion in the crowd.

Once the identities of the suspects has been confirmed, the suspects will be arrested and taken to court, he said.

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