Monday, April 23, 2012

Yet another convicted big name goes missing before prison date

When is it going to stop? In Taiwan, after you have been convicted, the judiciary orders you to appear to start your sentence instead of remanding you to custody immediately like the do in many other countries. This results in countless cases like the one this week where a major criminal simply doesn't show:
Former legislator Lo Fu-chu (羅福助), who was convicted of securities violations, has gone missing days before starting a four-year prison term, leading to airports and seaports being put on a state of alert.
Lo is a famous politician and former "spiritual head" of the island's organized crime alliance (more). Lo has probably not left the island yet, but if he does, the likely goal is China, the land of choice Taiwan criminals who fail to show up to start their sentences. Ironically, there's a trickle in the other direction, the China Post notes in a case about a judge who had been repatriated after fleeing to China to avoid a bribery sentence:
Such bilateral cooperation goes both ways. A 30-year-old Chinese national surnamed Huang, who was charged with murder in Jiangsu Province, China, and had been hiding in Taiwan for eight years. Huang was repatriated from Taiwan to China via on Friday night.
However, as the Taipei Times reported in the massive Rebar case in 2007, when Rebar head Wang You-theng fled first to Hong Kong and China ahead of the bankruptcy of his company....
Although China and Taiwan have a very low-key extradition program, it is almost invariably reserved for petty or violent criminals. It is rare, if not unprecedented, for people suspected of white-collar crimes or corruption to be returned to Taiwan.
The Taipei Times observed three years ago: "Of the 85 major Taiwanese economic criminals who have fled to China over the past 10 years, only one has been returned to Taiwan..." Famed white collar criminals now in residence there include Chen You-hao, who left behind US$2 billion in bank loans, and Tseng Cheng-jen of the Kuangsan Group. National Security Bureau chief cashier Liu Kuan-chun, who allegedly embezzled US$5.9 million, disappeared to China in 2000. While China has repatriated over 100 criminals, few have been really big names such as those.

Notoriously, many Taiwan gangsters have moved across the Strait to start new lives in the rich criminal underworld of China. If Lo flees there, it seems likely he'll fit right in....
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FOARP said...

"Notoriously, many Taiwan gangsters have moved across the Strait to start new lives in the rich criminal underworld of China.

I can only speak for Nanjing, Shenzhen (AKA Crime City PRC), and to a lesser extent, Shanghai, and my knowledge is only good up to 2007, but I can't say that actual mafia are as much of a force on the mainland as they are in Taiwan. People don't, generally speaking, call up their Mafia friends when they need help on the mainland, although this is a fact of life in Taiwan. Unlike Miaoli (which I realise is a particularly active town for Taiwanese mafia) you won't, generally speaking, see bunches of hoods sitting around in bars all night drinking for free on the mainland. In Shanghai some of the larger Taiwanese gangs had made some in-roads - the Bamboo Union was one that I heard of there - but mainly among Taiwanese living there. I hear they're pretty powerful in Xiamen though.

The reason for this is pretty simple - people don't need mafia when the government is so venal and corrupt. The CCP is the biggest gang on the mainland, and they protect their turf.

FOARP said...

PS - What's the creepy-crawly and is he/she really as big as he/she looks in the photo?

Michael Turton said...

The spider is only about three inches across, so it is much magnified in the closeup.

I'd love to read a comparison of gangs here and there, but i suspect that the researchers who wrote it wouldnt survive its publication.

FOARP said...

@MT - Funny you should mention that, but I heard there was someone at Xiamen University who did an in-depth study . . . and then was politely asked not to study any further by some very persuasive gentlemen.

FOARP said...

PS - as much as a wimp as this is going to make me sound, but even three inches sounds big enough to me!

James said...

There's definitely enough of a presence in Fujian and Guangdong to make it worth their while to slip over there. My first few years here it was incredibly the freedom of movement some of top thugs has in the south and back and forth over the strait.

I can't believe that the cops weren't more than just incompetent in cases like Chang His-ming's. Four times the guy got away and - at least once - when he was surrounded. Him and his cohorts walking around out in the open with M16s and uzis and not taken out? They would have been shot dead in second in the States.

Good old Lo - remember our first year here FOARP? I was trying to get a taste for the political scene just before I came out in 01 and he was my first exposure to Heidao shenanigans.

Punched Dianne Lee in the kisser when she had the temerity to praise the anti-graft bill which they were pushing through. She was saying it was about time that the Legislature cleaned out the hoods, to which Lo apparently shouted 'I'm no crim' before walloping her. (Something like that, though I've definitely embellished this one over the years).

If you've not read: "Heidao" is great for an overview of this stuff.

Ben Goren said...

As someone who by accident of employment is now in close daily association with 'people in the know' the word is that Lo paid a red envelope and did a runner a long time ago.

FOARP said...

Not read JB, but if the book goes missing from your shelves next time I'm round . . .errr . . . .

James said...

@Ben: That sounds entirely what I'd expect.

This is a guy who ended up on a judicial/police committee, which - when it convened - descended into farce with the few legislators and prosecutors who weren't on the take just dismayed. I remember a fellow quoted in Heidao just speaking of what a joke it was that 'a man like this' could be having a say on these issues and how disillusioned and powerless those lawmakers who had any scruples felt.

It was absurd ... almost like panto but not really very funny once you really thought about it.