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.
WAR FUNDING: A report by UK and Ukrainian defense analysts said that Taiwanese exports of a compound used in gunpowder have been helping Russia propagate its war About 20 percent of nitrocellulose — a compound used in gunpowder — imported into Russia has been sourced from Taiwan, a joint British-Ukrainian investigative report showed. Nitrocellulose is a key component of smokeless gunpowder, and the EU has banned export of the compound to Russia due to its ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine. The report said that nitrocellulose produced in Taiwan makes its way to Russia by passing through other countries such as Turkey. Only one company, T.N.C. Industrial Co (台硝), was named in the report, which also named China and Germany as key sources of the compound for
ROAD SINKING: The road surface of Qingcheng Street near the intersection with Xingan Street in Taipei’s Songshan District collapsed on Friday at about 9pm Grouting was yesterday used to repair a section of road in Taipei, after work on a construction site caused the surface to partially collapse on Friday evening, the Taipei Construction Management Office said yesterday, adding that nearby buildings were not affected. The road surface of Qingcheng Street near the intersection with Xingan Street in Taipei’s Songshan District (松山) collapsed at about 9pm on Friday. When police arrived they found four cars parked by the roadside tilting to one side. Police estimated the area that had subsided was about 4m by 30m, and was about 1.5m deep. They cordoned off the surrounding area
A Singaporean social media streamer who goes by the pseudonym Kiaraakitty faked an egg attack by an alleged passerby during a livestream in Kaohsiung on Feb. 9, the city’s police department said on Saturday. The department was responding to the streamer’s claim earlier this month that a stranger had thrown eggs at her during a recent visit to Kaohsiung. Kiaraakitty is known for posting provocative content on livestreaming sites such as Twitch and Discord, as well as other social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. She also posts on paid adult content Web site OnlyFans. In the video dated Feb. 9,
TAIPEI WATCHING: The speedboat incident must be studied to prevent such incidents from recurring, president-elect William Lai was quoted as saying China’s launch of regular coast guard patrols in the Taiwan Strait after two Chinese sailors died fleeing from the Taiwanese coast guard is unlikely to trigger an escalation, analysts said yesterday. Beijing’s actions are aimed at applying pressure on Taipei and signaling its displeasure at president-elect William Lai (賴清德), not to raise the tensions in the Strait, Institute of National Defense and Security Research fellow Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲) said. The situation in the Taiwan Strait is “not particularly hot” as coast guards in the region have used water cannons and ramming during confrontations with foreign ships on multiple occasions, he said. Taiwan should