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Talk of the day -- Gang leader shot dead in presence of police

2010/06/02 11:04:01

Four police officers were at the crime scene when gang leaderWeng Chi-nan died in a shower of bullets in central Taiwan's TaichungCity May 28.

Two higher-ranking officers -- Lin Chi-you, a traffic policesquad leader, and Lin Wen-wu, a detective police squad leader -- havebeen removed from their leadership posts and slapped with a demeritas punishment.

The two lower-ranking officers -- Shih Chang-hsing and TaiChih-hung -- were given a warning as they were reportedly justcarrying out their duty by driving their superiors to the gangleader's office. Shih sustained an injury to one of his toes in theshooting.

The incident has again raised concerns over the police force'sintegrity and work ethic as well as the shady ties between police andcriminal rings.

The following are excerpts from the local media coverage of theissue:

China Times:

The gunman in last Friday's shooting that claimed two livesremains at large, while an equally shocking fact came to lightTuesday -- four police officers witnessed the execution-like killing.

Taichung Mayor Jason Hu was kept in the dark for five days aboutthe presence of police officers at the crime scene. When he found outabout the embarrassing event, he said with frustration that it seemedlike he had taken another bullet, after already being shot once.

It was truly "heart-wrenching" to know that ranking policeofficers maintain ties with gang members, Hu said while attending acity council session.

Taichung prosecutors summoned the four police officers forquestioning and tentatively concluded that the police officers hadnothing to do with the shooting incident and did not break any law.Their presence at the gang leader's office was an inappropriate actrather than a legal infraction, the prosecutors said. (June 2, 2010).

United Daily Daily News:

According to a police investigation, the two ranking policeofficers were invited to the gang leader's office by their retiredcolleague Chen Wu-hsiung for a chat.

When the gang leader, Weng Chi-nan, arrived at the scene, agunman who had been waiting for him for some time fired a volley ofbullets at him. Surveillance cameras showed that the four policeofficers hid behind couches as the assailant fired his gun.

The police officers regretted showing up at the scene at the mostinappropriate time. Lin Chi-you, a traffic police squad head, said hedid not know "the place was so complex." He further said they couldnot help at the time because they were not on duty and thereforeunarmed.

Taichung Police Bureau chief Hu Mu-yuan said he had heard thatpolice officers were present at the crime scene on the day theshooting happened but did not inform the mayor until obtaining solidevidence.

Hu promised to step down from his post if the fugitive gunman isnot brought to justice by the end of this year. (June 2, 2010).Liberty Times:

Mayor Hu said the previous day that he was not sure where exactlythe city's public order problems lie. Some people familiar withpolice circles said the problems lie in the shady dealings betweenpolice officers and underworld ring members.

Police officers sometimes have to engage with gang members toobtain tips to facilitate investigations into criminal dealings. Somepolice officers fail to observe the fine line and eventually areco-opted by ring leaders while failing to get any useful information.

A retired police detective who once worked in central Taiwan saidin some cases, targeted gangsters were tipped off and fled beforepolice began to probe their suspected criminal acts. (June 2, 2010).

(By Sofia Wu)