Taoyuan police yesterday said that officers stopped two tour buses in Bade City on Tuesday night and discovered that the 74 teenagers on board were on their way to a year-end meeting of the Bamboo Union's Panther Division.
"We received a call from a junior-high school teacher about this matter so we sent our officers to figure out what was going on. The youngest of them was a 12-year-old girl who is still in elementary school," an official from the Bade City Precinct said.
The police said that of the 74 students, 65 of them were under 18 and eight of them were girls. None of them had criminal record but the youngest girl told the police that she had participated in the union's "female division" since last month.
Since the teenagers were found to be doing nothing illegal, police notified their parents after questioning the youths.
Bade police said that most of them were still in their school uniforms when the buses were stopped. Many of the students told the police that they were invited to a free dinner in Taipei and the tour buses would take them there and bring them back afterward. They had no idea what the dinner was all about.
According to the precinct spokesperson, the dinner was convened by a 22-year-old man, who was identified only by his surname Chang.
Chang said that he was not a member of the gang but told the police that the Bamboo Union has recruited at least 40 junior-high school students into the organization.
Chang also told the police that his friend in the Panther Division asked him to invite as many teenage students as possible to Tuesday's year-end meeting in Taipei. Chang then apparently asked his friends to invite the teenagers from different schools to the dinner.
Police officers did not give any information about the Bamboo Union's get-together on Tuesday night but said "everything was under control."