Mon, Sep 25, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Police seize, release black-clad protesters

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A group of young people led by Wang Lan, former head of the Bamboo Union's Phoenix Corps, gather outside Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall yesterday before leaving for Kaohsiung to join a protest against President Chen Shui-bian.

PHOTO: CHEN TSE-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

Police yesterday took into custody more than 40 young black-clad men who had joined an anti-President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) rally in Kaohsiung on suspicion of gang links. All were later released.

Those young men joined more than 200 individuals who assembled yesterday morning in Taipei and took buses to Kaohsiung to join the protest. They were led by a woman named Wang Lan (王蘭).

Wang was arrested by police in 2003 for organizing the nation's first all-female gang, the Phoenix Corps, which is now estimated to have a membership of more than 100 young women, mostly high-school students. Prosecutors are still probing the case.

Wang has also led gangsters to many pan-blue camp rallies.

"We are not gangsters, Chen Shui-bian and the Presidential Office are gangsters," Wang told the press yesterday.

Because of the group's sus-pected gang links, police yesterday videotaped Wang and her followers' starting from when they got together in Taipei.

Police cars followed their buses to Kaohsiung.

But when the young men in black arrived at the protests site, Kaohsiung police immediately took them to a police station in a police bus.

Kaohsiung police said that they wanted to check to see whether there were any wanted individuals in the group and whether any of them were involved in crimes.

Police later released all of them and let them return to the rally site.

Yesterday, some 2,000 Kaohsiung police monitored the anti-Chen campaign in Kaohsiung led by Chinese Unity Promotion Party chairman Lin Cheng-chieh (林正杰).

The rally took place at a square in the Tsoying District (左營區), which has housing for military personnel and their dependents and a large population of Mainlanders.

Barricades were erected around the protest site to prevent pro-independence supporters from entering the zone to confront protesters, but few pro-Chen supporters showed up at the scene yesterday.

Gangsters have often been found taking part in political activities. Several members of Bamboo Union, allegedly the largest gang in the country, were arrested last April for their involvement in violent clashes at CKS International Airport when Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) left for China.

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