TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan is concerned that China is trying to push its drive for unification by funding organized crime groups on the island, the Financial Times reported.
The British newspaper went to interview Chang An-le (張安樂), the former leader of the Bamboo Union crime group who now heads a supposedly political movement, the China Unification Promotion Party (CUPP, 統促黨).
Chang, 69, commonly known as “the White Wolf” (白狼), emerged in the news again last month after his son and party supporters were accused of attacking pro-Taiwan Independence students at a music event.
The violence gave rise to a decision by the authorities to investigate the alleged flow of funds from China to groups like the CUPP.
“But delineating politics, business and the underworld in Taiwan and across the strait to China is not easy,” the Financial Times writes.
In the interview, Chang denies receiving orders or funds from Beijing, though he confirmed he often traveled to China and had contacts with officials with whom he sometimes discussed policies.
He claims the only time China tried to direct his activities was when they asked him not to use the five-star flag of the People’s Republic at his rallies in order to avoid provocation, the Financial Times reported.
Chang insisted his links to the Bamboo Union were a thing of the past, the newspaper wrote, noting he spent 17 years as a fugitive in China and 10 years in prison in the United States, while he added he did not care whether the media called him a drug dealer.