Gunshots, disputes over betting keep police busy

BASEBALL::Two officers, a rich bettor and a hair salon owner’s son who were fond of betting on games got entangled with illegal gambling operators, police said

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Nov 11, 2017 - Page 3

Authorities have been tracking down suspects in a gun shooting, a street brawl and disputes over debt, with the various incidents apparently all related to illegal betting on baseball games and illegal gambling operators.

Top police officials in Taipei were left with egg on their face yesterday when two officers, surnamed Lee (李) and Huang (黃), were indicted on charges of illegal gambling.

The two officers from New Taipei City’s Sanchong District (三重) Police Precinct in New Taipei City became the target of an investigation after a group of men surrounded the precinct on Oct. 22, saying they were there to collect money on behalf of an underground gambling operator.

Lee and Huang were found to be fond of placing bets on baseball game outcomes, but lost most of the time, investigators said.

Huang accumulated a debt of NT$3 million (US$99,430) to illegal gambling operators, while Lee owed NT$760,000, they said.

Both were charged, given one major demerit each and transferred to other positions, police said.

In Tainan, the authorities said they were still working to find the gunman who fired 51 shots at a mansion in the city’s Anping District (安平) on Tuesday.

Police said the case was likely a financial dispute over money from illegal gambling, adding that the owner of the mansion, surnamed Yang (楊), is known locally for betting big money on baseball games.

Yang won bets on Taiwan and US pro-baseball games most of the time and has made considerable profits, they said.

It is likely that illegal gambling operators with links to organized crime hired a gunman to fire shots at Yang’s mansion to serve either as a warning or threat for him to return some of the winning, police said.

In a separate incident on Thursday, police in Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華) had to break up a group of people who were fighting in front of a hair salon, with several men sustaining knife wounds.

Police said the fight apparently broke out over the gambling debt of the son of the owner of the hair salon, surnamed Huang (黃), who was also fond of betting on baseball games.

They said that an illegal gambling operator, surnamed Lai (賴), had gathered his men to collect the gambling debt, but the Huang family also called up their friends and local hooligans.

The two groups fought with knives and clubs.

Police were called to the scene. Several of the combatants were hospitalized for various injuries.

Eleven were charged with public disorder, blackmail and attempted murder by the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday.