Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) yesterday vowed to contain the criminal activities of organized gangs to ensure public safety and social order in the run-up to the Jan. 11 presidential and legislative elections, as he announced that a top figure of Taipei’s North Union Gang (北聯幫) had been arrested.
Taipei police officials had to move quickly to apprehend a man, surnamed Wang (王), identified as the boss of the North Union Gang, as he and fellow members were allegedly making plans for a banquet at one of the main halls of Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center.
The gathering for a big banquet by gang members and their friends is a cause for concern, because people are worried about criminal activities and public safety, and it could affect ongoing campaigns by candidates in local neighborhoods, Hsu said at a news briefing, accompanied by National Police Agency (NPA) Director-General Chen Ja-chin (陳家欽).
Photo: Huang Hsin-po, Taipei Times
Media reports had cited insiders as saying that the boss’ full name is Wang Ji-ping (王際平), known to gang members and friends as “Brother Ping” (平哥), and that he was well-funded to organize an 800-table banquet.
Officials said holding such a large gathering is seen as a challenge to police and an occasion for various gangs and their leaders to link up and form alliances to carry out criminal activities.
Media reports said Wang and his subordinates had held a 600-table banquet at the Grand Hotel in June to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the gang, which is active in Taipei’s Beitou (北投) and Zhongshan (中山) districts.
Wang is in custody following questioning earlier this week, Chen said.
The NPA had formed a task force to monitor and gather evidence about the gang’s activities, including debt collecting using blackmail and violence, operating illegal gambling rackets, drug trafficking and fake property investment schemes, with victims losing large sums of money. .
Police have made progress in investigating three cases of fraud and detained 40 suspects, Chen said.
“We have a zero-tolerance policy regarding gangs breaking the law,” Hsu said. “They will not be permitted to challenge the authorities and must not undermine public security.”
“Our law enforcement agencies will restore safety to society, allowing candidates and political parties to campaign,” he said.
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