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Four arrested for alleged extortion of shopkeepers in Tamsui District: CIB

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) yesterday arrested four suspects in New Taipei City over allegations of extorting money from vendors in Tamsui District.

In order to alleviate the pressure of the increasing housing market prices in Greater Taipei, the Construction and Planning Agency (CPA) in 2006 started to develop the Danhai New Town (淡海新市鎮) project in Tamsui District of New Taipei City.

The CIB said one of the four suspects, surnamed Tu, is allegedly the head of a local gang in Northern Taiwan. The bureau said Tu allegedly claimed himself as the landowner of Danhai New Town's phase one and phase two project and allegedly threatened people to pay him a “protection fee.”

The bureau said as there are many construction projects in Tamsui, many vendors would set up mobile booths to sell beverages and meals around the construction sites.

The CIB went on to say that Tu and the other suspects would go to the construction sites and tell the vendor owners that they need Tu's permission and had to give him money for doing business around the area.

The suspects allegedly smashed and shot at the vendors' booths to force the victims to give them money when they refused to cooperate, the bureau said.

After receiving reports from citizens, the CIB's Second Investigation Corps formed a team with the Tamsui Precinct to investigate the case, the bureau said, adding that the team yesterday dispatched over 30 police officers to search for and arrest Tu and his accomplices in New Taipei City.

The four suspects were later transferred to the Shilin District Prosecutors Office for further investigation, the CIB said.

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