Investigation to begin on China's sponsorship of Taiwanese gangs

Beijing's backing of Taiwanese gangs to be investigated after suspected members assault NTU student protesters

Gangsters busted by New Taipei police in 2015. (New Taipei City Police website)

Gangsters busted by New Taipei police in 2015. (New Taipei City Police website)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Minister of the Interior Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮) called for an investigation into China's potential ties to Taiwanese triads in the wake of assaults on NTU student protesters by pro-unification supporters who have suspected affiliations with such gangs, reported Liberty Times.

After video surfaced of pro-unification Patriot Association (愛國同心會) member Hu Ta-kang (胡大剛) and the leader of the Chinese Unity Promotion Party (中華統一促進黨) Chang Wei (張瑋) assaulting NTU students protesting the Sing China concert on Sept. 24, Yeh called for a full investigation into the links between these groups, organized crime and Beijing at the Legislative Yuan yesterday.

The statements by Yeh followed a report released yesterday by Liberty Times citing intelligence agencies as saying the Chinese Ministry of State Security has been running an "external liaison office" (外聯辦事處) based in Xiamen in China's Fujian Province which has been covertly directing and funding gangs in Taiwan to promote its "united front" (pro-China lobbying/propaganda) activities and sew division and discord in Taiwanese society. Though the liaison office was ostensibly created to manage cross-strait exchanges under China's Taiwan Affairs Office, the report says that it is in fact an intelligence operations center that wages political warfare, spying and united front campaigns for Beijing.

Among the gangs listed in the report as having been recruited by Beijing to do its bidding include United Bamboo Gang (Bamboo Union, 竹聯幫) and the Four Seas Gang (四海幫). Over the years, Chinese spy agencies have found influential members of these gangs easy prey for recruitment when they relocate to China to avoid prosecution for crimes in Taiwan and need support from corrupt Chinese officials and police to run their illegal operations.

Meanwhile, the National Police Agency on Tuesday announced that it will begin a crackdown on groups in Taipei and New Taipei City that have been organized under the false pretense of political activism to disrupt social order, as well as illegal operations by affiliated triads such as Bamboo Union, reported UDN. Police emphasized that this will not be a short-term sweep, but rather a long-term strategy to cut off the revenue streams of gangs.