Authorities were continuing negotiation efforts last night with the six prisoners, reportedly led by Cheng Li-te (鄭立德), a member of the Bamboo Union (竹聯幫) triad imprisoned for murder, who were holding warden Chen Shih-chih (陳世志) hostage.Among the facts causing conspiracy theorists' hearts to flutter (see Cole's take on the politics in The Diplomat):
- The prisoners demanded to know why they couldn't get medical parole and Chen Shui-bian could.
- White Wolf, longtime gangster and new leader of pro-China political party, with old connections to that gang and to the ROC security services in the martial law era, came down to attempt to negotiate. The police blocked that.
- The prisoners had good access to media, including a 15 minute interview with a local pro-China station, and their demands were read on TV
- There was the usual speculation about the prisoners having an inside connection, to make the breakout possible. But this looks like the usual chabuduo incompetence and complacency rather than malicious intent.
Overlooked is this simple fact:
After the first hostages were taken, the deputy warden and head guard offered to take their place. The warden later took Lai's place alongside Wang.If the breakout was authentic, and not planned as political theatre, then these men put their lives at risk. Kudos.
This story has "we'll probably never know the whole story" written all over it.
- Call for papers for Oxford Conference on Taiwan Studies. Theme is identity formation and Taiwan.
- This case of abuse of the system by police officers is overshadowed by the spectacular Kaoshiung prison news. But it is quite serious.
- Frozen Garlic, the elections blog, looks at the issue of combining the presidential and legislative elections.
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