Fri, Jul 14, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Record weapons haul confiscated

PINGTUNG RAID One of two men shot during yesterday morning's operation later died in hospital. Police said the smuggled arms are linked to an underworld dispute

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Kaohsiung police officers yesterday display 118 rifles, machine guns and pistols that were seized in a raid in Pingtung County organized by Kaohsiung City police and the Coast Guard Administration.

PHOTO: HUANG CHIH-YUAN, TAIPEI TIMES

Kaohsiung police and Coast Guard Administration (CGA) officers seized 118 state-of-the-art rifles, machine guns and pistols along with 18,512 bullets in a midnight raid in Pingtung County yesterday.

"This is the largest number of illegal weapons we have seized in the past decade," said Pingtung Prosecutor Wang Kwang-chieh (王光傑), who led the raid on a site in Checheng, Pingtung County, at around 1am yesterday.

Wang said two suspects, 30-year-old Chen Ming-kai (陳明凱) and 28-year-old Chen Hung-hsin (陳宏欣), were shot while trying to flee in their pickup truck.

Police had opened fire when the Chens' truck tried to ram their vehicles while trying to escape.

Chen Ming-kai died at a local hospital around 8am.

Chen Hung-hsin suffered a broken arm but was reported to be stable condition.

Police officials believe the weapons confiscated yesterday are linked to a feud between the Four Seas Gang and the Bamboo Union, the two most notorious organized crime groups in the country.

One of the leaders of the Four Seas Gang was arrested for running illegal video gambling games, reportedly after police received a tip-off from one of the leaders of the Bamboo Union.

The Four Seas Gang then collected approximately NT$6 million (US$187,500) to buy weapons to use against its rivals.

A police investigation determined the weapons came from the Philippines and were brought in by fishing boats.

Police and coast guard officials are still trying to identify the local fishing boats and crews that smuggled the weapons into the country.

Chen Ming-kai and Chen Hung-hsin drove from Changhua to pick up the arms in Checheng, a coastal town in Pingtung.

The CGA said that the weapons the two Chens were picking up are state-of-the-art arms of the type used by special forces around the world. Some of the weapons are so powerful that their bullets can penetrate the bullet-proof vests and helmets used by law enforcement officers.

"There is the potential for a war between the two gangs so we have been keeping an eye out recently for any useful information and tips. I am glad that we found these weapons before they could be used," Wang said.

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