Tue, Nov 30, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Taichung mayor begs for police after gang battle


In the face of deteriorating public order in the central city of Taichung, Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) again appealed to the central government yesterday for a boost in the number of police assigned to his city.

At a meeting of top city officials, Hu complained that Taichung has suffered a serious lack of police for years, saying that this is why his administration has not been able to maintain order.

The city was shaken by yet another gang shootout on Saturday, in which two men were shot dead and three others were injured. The case was the fourth to occur in Taichung in the last six months.

A day after the bloody shooting, Hu asked the central government to deploy additional police officers in his city. He received a response from the premier the same day, who directed the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) to assign an additional 40 police officers to Taichung.

The additional police force went on duty yesterday, but Hu claimed the 40-strong force is too small to clean up the city, which has been inundated with vicious criminals involved in prostitution, drugs, gambling and illegal guns.

Hu cited the latest MOI report as saying that Taichung's crime rate has been the highest among all the cities in the country for the past 12 years and complained that the central government has failed to carry out a promise it made last year to supplement Taichung City's police force to a ratio of 1:350 -- with one police officer serving every 350 citizens.

At present, there is only one police officer for every 420 citizens in Taichung, according to official statistics.

Hu added that criminal gangs are the cause of most major social problems in Taichung. To improve public order, Hu suggested launching a large-scale police operation in a time span of three to six months to crack down on the gangs.

The mayor added that the relevant authorities would have to mobilize some 3,000 to 4,000 personnel to effectively crack down on crime in his city.

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