Minister of the Interior Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮) yesterday praised law enforcement agencies for their efforts in a major nationwide initiative to crack down on extortion gangs, underground syndicates and gambling operations that has resulted in the apprehension of more than 1,500 suspected criminals, partially in response to violent incidents at public hearings.
“We will have ‘zero tolerance’ for gang violence. The government must establish its authority in upholding public safety and clamp down on criminal activities,” Yeh said at the Criminal Investigation Bureau’s headquarters in Taipei, while surveying the results of coordinated raids.
“Groups of gangsters were identified at several recent protests that turned violent, disrupting public hearings on important issues,” Yeh said. “Evidence showed that they posed as civic organizations, but they have followed their own political agenda of interfering and subverting the democratic process.”
Photo: Chen Yi-yun, Taipei
“We must prosecute them to the full extent of the law to maintain the safety and well-being of our society,” he added.
The crackdown has been a significant success, bureau Deputy Director Chi Ming-mo (紀明謀) said, adding that authorities had arrested six high-ranking members of two of the nation’s most notorious organized crime groups, including Chen Tzu-chun (陳子俊) of the Four Seas Gang (四海幫) and Chen Mu-sen (陳木森) of the Bamboo Union (竹聯幫).
The operation involved 6,470 police officers in raids of 164 locations linked to gang activities, Chi said, adding that a total of 108 suspects had been arrested.
Photo: courtesy of New Taipei City Police Department
A total of 5,889 police officers participated in other operations in all of the nation’s counties and major cities that targeted gambling dens and betting pools, major sources of income for Taiwanese gangsters and organized crime groups, officials said.
Those raids resulted in the capture of 106 suspects from illegal gambling dens, 50 from illegal sports betting pools, 692 from underground Mark Six lottery operations, 513 at illegal casinos and 79 from other forms of gambling activities, they added.
Police apprehended members of two large online gambling networks, Tao Gin (淘金網), operator of w3.tg777.net, and Jiou Zhou Entertainment (九州娛樂網), which runs tx5588.com, both of which allegedly received bets from people in Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and Macau, officials said.
Accompanying Yeh at the event was National Police Agency Director-General Chen Kuo-en (陳國恩).
A number of lawmakers and pundits have called for his removal over a perceived neglect of his duties, a lack of police initiatives to prevent violence at public hearings and not actively pursuing the capture of known criminals after such incidents.
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