Police in Hsinchu on Thursday arrested seven people suspected of being members of the Three Circles Gang for alleged profiteering by violence, blackmail and extortion.
Among the suspects arrested in the raids was an elderly man surnamed Lai (賴), who prosecutors believe is the gang leader.
Prosecutors said they intend to charge the seven with assault, blackmail and contraventions of the Organized Crime Prevention Act (組織犯罪防制條例).
Gang members allegedly demanded protection payments from shops, restaurants and night market vendors in Hsinchu city and county, collecting an estimated NT$9 million (US$291,734) over the past few years, prosecutors said.
After receiving complaints, Hsinchu police placed the alleged gang members under surveillance and identified the company Jhudong Enterprise as a cover, they said.
Lai allegedly instructed gang members to collect protection money from businesses of up to NT$20,000 per month, prosecutors said, adding that if the businesses did not pay, gang members would splash excrement and urine onto the offending storefront or smash the shop with metal rods and baseball bats.
The gang’s most profitable sources of protection money came from night clubs, message parlors, businesses offering prostitution services and “modeling agencies” that provide young women for escort and sex services, police said.
Lai got his start in the 1970s as a gangster in the county’s Jhudong Township (竹東), then gathered members to form the Three Circles Gang, officials said.
They have previously pitched street battles with other gangs for control of territory, they added.
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,