Thu, Aug 16, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Cram school proprietor accused of gangsterism

SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS:The math instructor allegedly hired men to throw fire bombs, beat one former partner and threatened to chop off another’s hands in front of students

By Chang Hsieh-sheng, Su Meng-chuan and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

The owner of a cram school in Greater Taichung was arrested Tuesday over accusations that he physically assaulted and threatened local competitors on several occasions.

Lee Shen-kuang (李慎廣), 45, proprietor of the Taichung-based private Chung Ru Lin Literature and Science Institute (中儒林) and a renowned mathematics instructor going under the pseudonym of Cho Hao (卓澔), allegedly enlisted a number of gangsters to teach his former business partners a lesson, police said.

Two instructors, surnamed Chang (張) and Wei (魏), had been jointly operating three teaching centers in Taichung — Chung Ru Lin, Ru Lin (儒林) and Hsiao Ru Lin (小儒林) — as well as one in Taipei, with Lee until October 2009, when Lee demanded a larger cut of the institutions’ revenue, which he was denied, police said.

The three subsequently dissolved their partnership, with Lee buying out Chang’s and Wei’s shares in Chung Ru Lin and managing the institution by himself, while Chang and Wei took control of the others, the police said.

Police said that shortly after the dissolution of the partnership, Lee’s cram school suffered a setback when it failed to enroll enough students and, enraged by his financial difficulties, Lee allegedly began feuding with his former associates.

Police said these rows spawned a spate of violent crimes in July last year.

According to the police, Lee instructed alleged gang members, including 41-year-old Chien Chien-feng (簡健烽) and his 40-year-old cousin Chang Wei-chih (張偉智), to splatter paint on and throw Molotov cocktails at the residence of Ru Lin’s director, surnamed Chen (陳), and puncture the tires of vehicles belonging to Chang and Wei.

In February, Lee allegedly instigated two unknown men to beat Chang as he left the Ru Lin institute after classes. In March, police said Lee threatened to chop off Wei’s feet and hands in front of hundreds of terrified students during class, then dragged him off the podium.

Lee’s arrest Tuesday marked the first time a renowned educator was arrested under the Criminal Investigation Bureau’s Chihping Anti-Gangster Program (治平專案).

Chung Ru Lin director Chiu Chun-wen (邱俊文) said in response to the arrest that Lee was an educator who lived a simple life and was not involved in any wrongdoing.

“I am confident that the judicial system will clear his name,” Chiu said.

According to the Taichung Supplementary Education Enterprise Association, as a result of the country’s dwindling fertility rate, the supplemental education market for high-school students preparing for college entrance examinations in Taichung has shrunk dramatically, causing fierce competition in an already saturated market.

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