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Organized Crime Gangs in Taiwan

NCJ Number
Trends in Organized Crime Volume: 8 Issue: 3 Dated: Spring 2005 Pages: 13-23
Date Published
11 pages
Profiles of three major organized crime gangs in Taiwan include information on organizational structure, the presence of intergang and intragang violence, the source of economic resources, political resources, and the response of law enforcement.
The United Bamboo gang has a headquarters and numerous local branches in Taiwan. The original source of the gang's capital accumulation came from traditional organized crime activities in the 1980s, such as extortion, debt-collection, gambling, protection, and prostitution. In the 1990s the gang added operations in legitimate businesses, such as security, investments, bid-rigging, construction, underground banking, and the entertainment industry. There is both intergang and intragang violence, with the main weapon being guns. The Heavenly Alliance gang stemmed from the banding together of native Taiwanese inmates in prison to protect themselves from members of the United Bamboo, whose members were primarily descendants of Mainland Chinese who came to Taiwan after 1949. This gang was formally organized in 1986 at the Taipei Detention Center. The gang has branches throughout Taiwan, with the main criminal enterprises being protection for sex establishment, gambling, and the operation of a lottery game, along with traditional organized crime activity. The gang is heavily armed and prepared to use violence to resolve conflicts. The Four Seas Gang also has branches throughout the country and has a history of involvement in traditional organized crime activities. Like the United Bamboo, it became involved in legitimate businesses in the 1990s and uses such tactics as bid-rigging, credit card fraud, and price fixing. It engages in both intergang and intragang violence. Police have countered gang activities under a number of laws that target gangs.