Fri, Aug 15, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Police step up security after spate of shootings

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A recent spate of gangland shootings in central Taiwan has prompted police to step up security, with officers on the lookout for Wang Chun-wei (王俊偉), an alleged gang member believed to be connected to one of the clashes.

On Aug. 1 in Changhua City, a gunman opened fire on a restaurant owner outside of his restaurant. The victim was shot in the leg and his car was severely damaged.

Just nine days later, at least two gunmen armed with M-16 rifles stopped on a scooter in front of independent Legislator Yen Ching-piao’s (顏清標) office on Chunghsing Road in Shalu Township (沙鹿), Taichung County.

The gunmen fired more than 30 bullets at an SUV that two of Wang’s relatives were sitting in before driving off, police said. The victims sustained wounds to their arms.

Police would not confirm if the victims were connected to Yen in any way, but said Yen told them that he did not know Wang or any of his associates.

The next day, gunmen targeted a funeral director’s store in Nantou, firing 40 bullets with automatic weapons. The incident took place at night and nobody was injured.

Following the shootings, National Police Agency Director-General Wang Cho-chiun (王卓鈞) stationed himself in Taichung, where he chaired a meeting with top officers to discuss how to proceed.

“We have yet to discover any direct evidence proving that Wang Chun-wei is related to the shootings, but we need to find him as soon as possible, especially now that he has become a major organized crime figure in the Taichung area,” the police chief said.

Police said Wang Chun-wei, Chen Yung-chih (陳勇志) and Chang Hung-jih (張宏吉) began working together last September, when they tried to blackmail a Taichung businessman who won NT$200 million (US$6.6 million) at a casino in Macau. They mailed a letter and a bullet asking for NT$60 million in the failed blackmail attempt. Police found Wang Chun-wei’s fingerprints on the letter.

At Wang Cho-chiun’s request, approximately 600 armed police officers have stepped up random vehicle checks since Tuesday in hopes of finding Wang Chun-wei.

“These gangsters dare to open fire in the streets,” Nantou County’s Police Department deputy head Tsai Jung-lin (蔡榮林) said. “We need to let them know that the police will not stand for it.”

Also See: EDITORIAL: Making a mockery of the law

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