Mon, May 30, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Procession held for `Mosquito Brother'

GODFATHER FUNERALThousands of gangsters from as far away as Japan took part in a funeral service for the nation's most renowned underworld crime figure

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Thousands of gangsters take part in a funeral service for notorious gangster Hsu Hai-ching as the 10km-long procession made its way through the streets of Taipei yesterday.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

About 10,000 black-clad gangsters, friends and family took part in the funeral of veteran gangster Hsu Hai-ching (許海清) in Taipei yesterday afternoon as police videotaped the funeral procession to keep tabs on criminals.

"Police videotaped those alleged gangsters to look into whether they have violated the Organized Crime Prevention Act under the criminal code," Lin Pang-liang (林邦樑), spokesman for the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office said yesterday.

Hsu's funeral service was held at Taipei First Municipal Mortuary at around noon yesterday as thousands of local gangsters and members of crime syndicates from Hong Kong and Japan formed a line to pay their respects to the Taiwan's notorious "godfather" Hsu.

The service was a veritable family reunion for Taiwan's criminal underworld. Members represented gangs such as the infamous Bamboo Union (竹聯幫), the Four Seas (四海幫), the Heavenly Way Gang (天道盟) and the Pine Union (松聯幫) all showed up wearing black. Members of the Japanese crime syndicates Yamaguchi-gumi and Asyura yesterday also attended the service.

Taipei City Council Speaker Wu Bi-chu (吳碧珠), a member of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), yesterday led a ceremony during the funeral service. She said because Hsu used to be a Taipei City councilor, she came to the service to pay her respects. However, other, more media-conscious politicians stayed away from the highly-publicized funeral to avoid being linked to organized crime.

The head of the Taiwanese Entertainment Union, Yang Kuang-you (楊光友), and renowned singers Yu Tian (余天) and Liu Fu-chu (劉福助), as well as other celebrities were also in attendance.

The funeral began at 12:30pm and drew to a close at 2:30pm. After the funeral service, Hsu's ashes were brought to Taipei County's Chinpaosan cemetery. Thousands of gangsters walked behind Hsu's hearse in a procession that stretched for about 10km along Minquan E. Rd, temporarily blocking traffic. Hundreds of family members and gang members waited at the cemetery for the funeral procession to arrive.

Police set up roadblocks around the cemetery. They also said the funeral services affected the surrounding area, and inconvenienced the nearly 50,000 junior high school graduates in the city who were taking their high school entrance exams yesterday.

Born in 1913, Hsu was a first-generation Taiwanese who got involved in organized crime after the KMT came to Taiwan. He was best known by the nick names "Mosquito Brother" and "the Great Arbitrator." He was also one of the first gangsters to enter Taiwan's political arena by becoming a Taipei City councilor in 1950.

Hsu died on April 6 at the age of 93.

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