Mon, Nov 07, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Mafia-related violence rife in schools

CAMPUS TROUBLE A lawmaker said yesterday that many violent incidents occurring in high schools around the country are linked to gang activities

By Jean Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) yesterday said that many of the cases of violence recently reported on school campuses were mafia-related, and that he hoped police departments would cooperate with the Ministry of Education in the future to make schools safer.

Mafia Web sites

During the conference Huang showed actual mafia-recruiting Web sites and said that because of the prevalence of the Internet, the mafia are able to recruit students easily through sites such as Yahoo classifieds.

Many students are entering the mafia via online recruiting because of easy access to these Web sites, Huang added.

Frequent violence

Huang said that according to a recent report released by the ministry's student affairs committee, out of 315 student-related cases of violence reported between January and August, 166 took place in high schools while 88 occurred in junior high schools, indicating the frequency of on-campus violent incidents.

Students, fearing revenge from bullies, are often afraid to tell their teachers about being threatened, Huang said. Many also keep quiet because they doubt whether their teachers can actually solve such problems, he added.

Yang I-feng (楊益風), director of the Taipei Teacher's Association, said that teachers cannot really search students' backpacks for weapons or dangerous objects for fear of violating student rights.

No respect

"Many students don't respect their teachers, and often seek the help of mafia gangs to deal with teachers who have crossed them," Yang said.

Lee Hsang-chen (李相臣), director of the computer crime and forensics division at the Criminal Investigation Bureau, said that the bureau was currently monitoring mafia recruitment sites online and will take action to ensure the online safety of students.

Lee said that the bureau hoped to cooperate with the ministry and teachers to curb the influence of the mafia on campuses since the police have more experience than teachers in dealing with mafia situations.

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