Gang at heart of Zhongshan firecracker bombings: police

Gang at heart of Zhongshan firecracker bombings: police

Members of the Bamboo Union are suspected of pelting four bars and nightclubs with firecrackers earlier this month, Taipei City Police reported yesterday.

Police are investigating 10 suspects who have ties to organised crime, said Chen Jui-chi of the Zhongshan Precinct yesterday.

Suspects belong to two factions of the Bamboo Union and allegedly threw lit fireworks at businesses in each other's protection racket on March 6 and 7.

The firecracker attacks are part of an ongoing dispute over a NT$38 million (S$1.7 million) gambling debt, he said.

By using fireworks, rather than throwing petrol bombs or smashing windows, the suspects may have hoped to avoid criminal prosecution, according to police.

"We will proceed according to the situation. There is the distress to the businesses and there is the impact on the public," Chen said.

Chen said the acts may be prosecuted as intimidation, in adherence with Criminal Code, or according to the Social Order Maintenance Act.

Firecracker Wars

On Feb. 25, one faction of the Bamboo Union met another at Dajia Riverside Park in Taipei City to collect a NT$38 million gambling debt.

Negotiations were aborted when a 50-unit police unit arrived at the scene and arrested 43 suspects.

Following the breakdown of talks, the collecting faction sought out the second faction at a bar on Jinzhou Street on March 4, but was chased off after the proprietor alerted the police.

Two days later, the second faction tossed firecrackers at three bars and nightclubs in the collecting faction's protection racket.

The attacked group retaliated on March 7 by throwing firecrackers at the bar on Jinzhou Street.

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