Units from the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau and Taipei prosecutors yesterday jointly carried out several raids and questioned four police officials as part of a probe into the alleged bribery of police by Taipei underground sex business operators.
Two nightclub proprietors and a witness were also summoned for questioning, with all seven people first questioned by bureau investigators before being transferred to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office for follow-up questioning late last night.
Prosecutors said that they had received tip-offs regarding corruption by Taipei police, which also resulted in raids and searches conducted in March and May last year.
Investigators have reportedly uncovered a number of international human trafficking operations that were smuggling women from China and Southeast Asia into Taiwan to work as prostitutes and to offer other sexual services, with some women allegedly working under indentured contracts after their passports and identification documents were taken away by their handlers or business owners, prosecutors said.
Local media reported that the four officials questioned yesterday were two sergeants at the Taipei Police Department’s Zhongshan Precinct surnamed Chuang (莊) and Huang (黃); a section head of the Crime Prevention Section at the department’s Songshan Precinct surnamed Liu (劉); and the head of the Duty Command Center at the department’s Daan Precinct surnamed Yang (楊).
Liu and Yang reportedly previously worked together at the Zhongshan Precinct or at a police station under its jurisdiction.
The four officials had received regular bribes of an undisclosed amount from two proprietors of underground sex trade establishments from 2011 to 2014, prosecutors said.
Taipei’s Zhongshan District (中山) is well-known as a main area for the tourism and entertainment industries due to a multitude of luxury hotels, nightclubs, bars and restaurants — as well as some seedier establishments where the underground sex trade continues to thrive — along Zhongshan N Road and Linsen N Road.
Last year, as part of the probe, 10 police officials of varying rank, including former Zhongshan Precinct First Police Station chief Lin Tsung-cheng (林崇成), were implicated in the corruption probe.
Investigators said that those 10 police officers received monthly bribes of NT$40,000 from the owner of one sex trade establishment and a main holiday period bonus of up to NT$80,000, with Lin reportedly having received the bribes from 2004 to 2017.
In exchange for the regular bribes, investigators said that the police officials protected the business and their proprietors by providing them advance warning of police raids in the district, or by falsifying reports of having conducted checks at the businesses or of foreigners working in the illegal sex trade.
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