Sun, Jun 03, 2018 - Page 3 News List

CIB arrests six in raids on taxi protection racket

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Six suspected members of the Bamboo Union have been arrested for allegedly operating a protection racket to extort money from taxi drivers in Taipei, the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) said at a news briefing on Friday.

The six allegedly carried assault weapons and used violence to control designated taxi stands around Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT Station and other spots near Xinyi District (信義), CIB official Huang Wei-ho (黃維和) said.

The CIB this week worked with Taipei and Keelung police to coordinate raids, during which the two men who allegedly headed the ring — Chiang Shou-chuan (江壽銓) and Lu Chun-lin (盧俊霖) — and four of their associates were arrested, he said.

“They used violence and threats to force taxi drivers to pay them a NT$18,500 ‘membership fee’ and NT$3,000 at the end of each month for ‘protection,’” Huang said.

Chiang is deputy chief of the Bamboo Union’s Taipei chapter, of which Lu is a high-ranking member, he said.

Taipei prosecutors said they are questioning the suspects and plan to charge them with extortion and assault, and for breaching the Organized Crime Prevention Act (組織犯罪防制條例).

Metal bars, baseball bats, Japanese swords, pepper spray and other weapons taken from the raids were displayed at the news briefing, which officials said were used to coerce taxi drivers.

Preliminary investigations found that about 18 drivers were victims of the racket, Huang said, adding that the taxi drivers were allegedly given “bumblebee” stickers to put on their front windshields to identify their vehicles.

The taxi drivers were targeted because of the lucrative tourism business around Zhongxiao Fuxing Station and the designated taxi stands there are also official mini-hubs for buses and taxi services taking foreign tourists to Jiufen (九份) in New Taipei City, Keelung and other northeast coast attractions, CIB officials said.

One taxi driver told investigators that a one-way trip to Jiufen usually costs NT$900, but he charged foreign tourists NT$1,500, from which the protection racket took a cut of NT$400 or NT$500.

He lived in fear of the Bamboo Union members, the driver said.

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