TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Police have rounded up a total of 142 suspects, including 21 alleged leaders of criminal gangs, in the latest round of nationwide crime sweeps ahead of the January presidential election, the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) has said.
As of Dec. 17, in a round of crackdowns police launched across the nation, 21 gang bosses and 121 gang members were arrested, the CIB said.
As part of the island-wide sweep initiated on Dec. 15, police authorities raided 1,131 locations in different cities and counties and arrested 358 suspects in connection with various crimes, the CIB added.
Many of these suspects were members of Taiwan's major crime syndicates, including the Bamboo Union and the Tiandaoming gang, among others.
During the raids, 10 firearms and 98 bullets were confiscated.
The crackdowns were made in northern Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Keelung; central Taichung and Chiayi; southern Kaohsiung and Pingtung and eastern Hualien and Taitung counties and cities.
The actions were carried out to maintain law and order, as well as to prevent gangster activity ahead of the January presidential and legislative elections, the CIB said.
Most of the suspects were arrested on charges of loan shark activities or other illicit activities that have threatened the livelihoods of ordinary citizens, the CIB said.