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September 25, 2017

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Mafioso involved in Taipei Twin Towers: report

A Next Magazine (壹週刊) report yesterday claimed that one of the chief investors behind Taipei Gateway International Development Co. Ltd. (太極雙星) — the firm that won the bid for the Taipei Twin Towers development project — is "Four Seas Gang" (四海幫) mobster Cheng Hong-tao (程宏道)."

The Four Seas Gang is reportedly one of the most prominent mafia syndicates in Taiwan.

In response, Cheng said the allegation was "ludicrous."

The Taipei City Government, on the other hand, said that its Department of Government Ethics (DOGE, 政風處) will conduct an investigation into the case.

During a Taipei City Council interpellation session in 2007, Councilor Lin Ruey-tou (林瑞圖) claimed that Cheng was a Four Seas gangster. Afterward, Cheng sued Lin over the allegations and later reached a settlement with the councilor.

According to Next Magazine, Taipei Gateway International Development Co. Ltd. was set up by Cheng's construction company on Dec. 8, 2011.

Liu Wen-yao (劉文耀), brother of People First Party (PFP) Deputy Secretary-General Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄), was then appointed as chairman of the board, while Cheng served as a board member, the report said.

The magazine further claimed that since Cheng was previously involved in numerous scandals, he withdrew his name from the firm's list of board members and transferred his shares into the hands of Liu. These were preemptive measures against possible attacks from competitors in the bidding process.

The Taipei Twin Towers, also formally known as the C1/D1 Joint Development Buildings, are expected to become a major landmark and transportation hub in the capital city.

After Taipei Gateway International Development Co. Ltd. underwent restructuring, a subsidiary of Mori Building Co. Ltd. (森集團) became a part of it.

He Yue-ru (何岳儒), chief representative of the subsidiary, later replaced Liu as chairman of the firm.

During an interview with Next Magazine, PFP Deputy Secretary-General Liu Wen-hsiung said that his brother was a manager in Cheng's construction company rather than a financier.

"The shares of Taipei Gateway International Development Co. Ltd. were transferred to (my brother), but he was only a nominal member of the board. He never had any actual power within the firm," Liu said.

In response to the accusations leveled against him, Cheng said that the idea of him being a Four Seas capo was utterly ludicrous, and that he had sued Taipei Councilor Lin Ruey-tou (林瑞圖) for making such a claim in 2007.

He also said that when the Mori Building subsidiary became part of Taipei Gateway International Development Co. Ltd., he left the firm because he did not think he was capable of handling the Taipei Twin Towers project and so he chose to have someone else take over instead.

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