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September 25, 2017

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Shootout rattles New Taipei

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A gunfight followed by a tense three-hour standoff in New Taipei ended with the suspect, 60-year-old Liu Pang-cheng (劉邦誠), arrested on Sunday.

At around 11 a.m., shooting rang out as police pursued Liu for alleged offenses including heroin dealing, blackmail and illegal possession of firearms.

About 30 shots were exchanged between the suspect and police, sending locals running for cover, before the suspect fled into an apartment by Xingnan Night Market in Zhonghe District.

A SWAT team was deployed to the area, sparking a three-hour standoff that saw the suspect's brother and New Taipei City Police Commissioner Hu Mu-yuan (胡木源) on the first floor of the building, shouting at the suspect on the fourth.

According to the New Taipei police commissioner, the suspect called out that he had committed many drug offenses and believed he would be given either a death sentence or life imprisonment if he were to go before a judge.

Grenade Threat

At one point, the suspect held out a hand grenade and feigned pulling out the pin while demanding to see his girlfriend.

Arriving at the scene in a bulletproof vest, Liu's girlfriend, surnamed Kao, spoke to him over a phone while standing downstairs, urging him to cooperate with police.

The suspect reportedly told his girlfriend: "No one is allowed near, or I will open fire."

According to the New Taipei police chief, Kao assured the suspect that she would accompany him throughout the judicial process.

In an attempt to persuade Liu to surrender, police told him that he would get no more than 18 years if imprisoned and would be eligible for parole with good behavior, Hu said.

Suspects Surrenders

At 2:10 p.m., members of the SWAT team began exiting the building.

Shortly afterward, the suspect came down the stairs on his own and was cuffed by police, then sent to Xindian Police Precinct for questioning.

At 2:20 p.m., the situation was resolved, Hu said.

During the standoff, police worked to avoid further using weapons to disarm the suspect and instad spent considerable time communicating with the suspect.

During police questioning later Sunday, Liu said that he and the late Taoyuan County Magistrate Liu Pang-yu (劉邦友) were cousins, though the latter's family has denied the relation.

The Taoyuan magistrate was killed in 1996 in a mass shooting at his home, along with seven others.

Liu Pang-cheng was named a suspect in the murder, but was not charged because he had an alibi. No arrests were ever made for the murder case.

The suspect also said he was the chief adviser to the Sun branch of Tien Dao Meng (天道盟), a major criminal organization in Taiwan.

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