Monday, January 20, 2014

The National Police Administration’s Heidao friends

It doesn’t look too good when the head of the National Police Administration is caught at a banquet with a Triad member

One of the many things I’ve found difficult to explain since vising the construction site of a controversial InfraVest wind turbine project in Yuanli, Miaoli County, in June last year was how the private security firm hired by the German company — a motley crew of brigands high on nicotine and betel nut — got away with terrorizing local residents opposed to the construction.

I have written at length about my encounter with the guards, and spoke with one of their members, who soon afterwards quit his job and went back to Kaohsiung. As one of the high-strung guards, his eyes bloodshot, walked around the site mumbling that if it were up to him, he’d get into a truck and run over the protesters, “Jerry” told me that the crew were recruited at Kung-Fu schools. Over several months, the private security goons clashed with local residents and did things that went well beyond what was allowable by the law. As expected, people got injured, but local police looked on and never intervened. When they did act, they sided with InfraVest and, by default, the hired thugs. Things came to a head in summer 2013 when the head of the National Police Administration (NPA), Wang Cho-chiun (王卓鈞), was grilled by legislators in Taipei. But theatrics aside, nothing happened.

In late October that same year, following an incident in the middle of the night when a mid-aged local was hit in the face by the same security officer who’d expressed his desire to flatten the residents with a truck, I looked deeper into the matter and found that the firm in question was the Taipei-based Hai Tian (海天保全), a successful private security firm that did jobs in China and provided personal security for a number of high-profile dignitaries, politicians (Sean Lien among them), and corporate leaders. Its founder had played a key role training special police units during the Martial Law period.  

Sources also hinted at the possibility of connections between the firm and organized crime — the Four Seas Gang more specifically, one of the main Triads in Taiwan. During a protest outside the Executive Yuan the following day, where Yuanli residents displayed pictures of the injuries sustained by farmers who had had the misfortune of dealing with Hai Tian, I pointed out to other journalists at the scene that none of this would avail to much if there indeed were high-level connections between the firm and the NPA, adding that Yuanli was only one of many cases where locals would be beaten into submission while police choose to look the other way. In other words, that it bode ill for society if organized crime had succeeded in infiltrating the NPA.

It’s too soon to determine whether any of this is related, but a story that is developing just now puts NPA Director-General Wang, who is alleged to have a special fondness for hostess bars, at a banquet table recently with … you guessed it, a member of the Four Seas.

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