In Taiwan, the relationship between gangs and temples has been a complex and controversial issue. For many years, gangs have been known to have close ties with temples, often using them as a front for their illegal activities or as a source of protection and legitimacy. I will examine the history of the involvement of Taiwan gangs with temples, their impact on society, and government efforts to regulate their activities.
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History of Gangs’ Involvement with Temples
During the 1980s and 1990s, gangs in Taiwan began to use temples as a front for their illegal activities. They would establish a relationship with the temple’s management, offering them protection and financial support in exchange for using the temple as a cover for their criminal activities.
One of the most notorious examples of this was the Bamboo Union Gang’s use of a temple in Taipei as its headquarters in the early 2000s. The temple was found to be housing weapons, drugs, and other illegal items, and its management was suspected of aiding the gang’s activities.
Impact on Society
The involvement of gangs with temples has had a negative impact on Taiwanese society. Gangs have used temples as a front for their criminal activities, including drug trafficking, extortion, and money laundering. This has led to an increase in violence and insecurity, as well as damage to the reputation of temples and their role in Taiwanese culture.
The use of temples by gangs has also affected the relationship between temples and their followers. Many people have become disillusioned with temples, seeing them as places that are no longer sacred or safe. This has led to a decline in temple attendance and donations, threatening the financial stability of many temples.
In response to the involvement of gangs with temples, the Taiwanese government has taken steps to regulate their activities. In 2009, the government introduced the “Guidelines for the Management of Temples and Religious Organizations,” which established stricter requirements for the management of temples and their finances.
Under the guidelines, temple management is required to maintain transparent accounting records and to report any suspicious financial transactions to the authorities. Temple management is also required to register with the government and undergo background checks to ensure that they have no ties to criminal organizations.
The government has also increased its efforts to crack down on gangs and their involvement with temples. In 2014, the police arrested over 200 gang members who were suspected of using temples as a front for their criminal activities. The police also seized millions of dollars in assets, including cash, luxury cars, and properties.
The fight against the involvement of Taiwan gangs with temples remains an ongoing struggle, requiring a coordinated effort from law enforcement and government officials to address the root causes of gang violence and criminal activities. Despite these efforts, the involvement of Taiwan gangs with temples remains a pressing issue. It requires a coordinated effort from law enforcement and government officials to address the root causes of gang violence and criminal activities.