Blond Bandit in Taidong?

Caught a snippet of a newsflash this morning while I was having breakfast at Jakes. Apparently a blond-haired blue-eyed bandit tried to hold up a store yesterday in Taidong with a gun! :shock: The clerk pretended she didn’t understand what was going on, and the guy took off emptyhanded.

Anybody seen Sandman recently? :wink:

That was real smart … I’m sure he was just planning on blending right into the crowd after his get-away … :unamused:

From today’s Taipei Times: … /05/193427

Taitung robbery report upsets area’s foreigners

By David Frazier
Wednesday, Feb 05, 2003,Page 2
Media reports from Taitung yesterday alleged that a Caucasian man with a gun attempted to rob a grocery store on Monday night, but expatriates in the area see the accusation as another episode in a nine-month-long string of police harassment.

Police say the grocery-store clerk thought she saw the outline of a gun being pointed at her through a bag held by a foreigner, said Hou Shan-rung (侯善容) of Taitung’s foreign affairs police unit.

“But she is not sure,” said Hou, who added that the police did not have any suspects and were still investigating whether or not a crime had been committed.

The clerk called police around 8pm Monday night to report an attempted robbery, telling officers that the man fled from the store on a bicycle. She said nothing had been stolen from the store.

The woman could not clearly describe the man and failed to identify a suspect yesterday at a police station, according to three foreign men who met her in an effort to clear their names.

The woman was brought to the station after the three went to complain about police harassment, including illegal searches, officers obtaining keys to at least one man’s home and spreading rumors that the men were drug dealers.

There are about 80 foreigners in Taitung County, including about 20 English-language teachers. Within the last year, two teachers have been charged with various crimes and eventually prosecuted for forgery of documents – college diplomas – related to work visas.

One man – one of the three who complained of police harassment – says he’s frightened that he is the target of a setup, even though the clerk did not recognize him.

“I woke up this morning and suddenly I’m accused of armed robbery,” he told the Taipei Times yesterday. “It seems to me that I’m the prime suspect.”

The man, an English teacher, said the police grilled him about his whereabouts Monday evening.

The man said he had been surfing at Dongho. He said one officer repeatedly asked him, “What time did you leave Dongho? Your innocence depends on it.”

This story has been viewed 300 times.

The Times story was viewed 300 times as of this moment [see time above] … which was a lot more than most of the other Times stories today, so obviously a lot of interest in Frazier’s article.

Question: what the eff is going on down there? A set up? Why?

Can any of our fellow posters deep in the jungles of Taitung please explain this all for us northerners?

I hope the TT does a followup story tomorrow to let us know the results. This is really an interesting – and unbelievable – story.

Any of the three ‘suspects’ care to tell us what happened and why?

My guess is this: some chick is pissed off at her former bf, called cops and asked for help in getting him deported. Maybe they smoke a joint together once, and she told the fuzz?

LoL, don’t let this story die… follow up please.

Yes, that’s an interesting story and I hope we’ll be able to read more about it.

One other thing in Frazier’'s report seemed rather surprising – that only one in four of the 80 foreigners residing in Taidong are teaching English. So what are all the others doing? What else is there for foreigners to do in Taidong? Not too many editing, business, or other such positions there, I wouldn’t have thought. I’d have expected the ratio of teachers to be more in the region of three in four, or even higher. Unless, of course, there’s a large number of missionaries there (the only possibility that springs to mind).

Actually I can’t believe there are that many foreigners either unless they are counting Fillipino and Indonesian maids. I was in Taidong over Chinese New Year and talked to 3 foreigners that live there. One was the owner of Amigo’s the “foreign pub” of Taidong. One owned a factory in Shanghai making surfing equipment and the other taught English with his wife out of their home in Taidong. They told me that they have the worst and most heavy-handed of all the Foreign Affairs Police. ImaniOU was actually there when the FAP came in and took everyone out, checked there ID and quizzed them if they were teaching illegally.

The job market is rather tight in Taidong. You have to network alot to get a job and the FAP aren’t going to cut you any breaks. The air is clean and it has good surf according to the locals. If I had a export oriented business(I’m working on it), I would probably move down to Taidong. The weather is nice and warm and it’s reasonably clean for a Taiwanese city.

I could see there being a lot of missionaries, especially amongst the aborigines. I saw a couple of mormons, but didn’t get a chance to talk to them. I was surprised by all the video gambling shops. You almost never see them in Taipei, but they seem common outside of Taipei.


I heard the TV news showed the owner of the convenience store and the policeman, but not the woman clerk and not any of the er suspects. Faces that is. Any more news?

80 foreigners, 20 teachers, 5 businessmen, 5 retired people, 20 maids, 20 Vietnamese brides, 20 missionaries, including that famous foot massage guy!

80 foreigners, 20 teachers, 5 businessmen, 5 retired people, 20 maids, 20 Vietnamese brides, 20 missionaries, including that famous foot massage guy![/quote]

But that adds up to 90, doesn’t it?

Hi, folks – i’m new to these forae, so please excuse me if my manner seems abrupt. Nevertheless, i’m fascinated by them – didn’t know they existed, and if i had then i’d’a come on a long time ago.

Unfortunately, i was referred here by a friend who suggested that i get some news out via this method b/c it’d reach the target audience quickly and conveniently, so i’ll just jump right in with my story and leave the introductions and familiarizing 'til later. Again, please forgive –

The situation down here in Taidong happens to be going on right around me. It’s like this – there’s a Foreign Affairs head down here named John Chen who’s gonna be getting out sometime pretty soon, and another fella in the division office here in Taidong City named Peter Chen who’s itchin’ to get promoted. Peter is the problem.

My friend down here, X, happens to be the current target of Peter Chen. Mr Chen has a long history of engaging in police harassment of foreigners, and has recently run two fellas out of town in a particularly ugly and vicious way. i’ll not go into that just yet, but suffice it to say that one of the cases is still under way after already 6 months of court dates (!) and without any evidence whatsoever having been compiled or presented to the judge – except for the initial charge of using a false diploma, on which the defendant has already been convicted. The remaining charges were all listed as “suspicions” (i.e. – no evidence at the time), and none have yet had any evidence presented or compiled because, as the grapevine has it down here (yes, there aren’t that many whiteys down here, so info gets around quite quickly), they’re all fabrications.

Now, keep all that in mind as you read what i’m about to explain. There are two fellas down here, X and Z, both english teachers who’ve been in Taidong for about two or three years. Both are quite clean-cut and gentle sorts, not the type to stir up trouble or resentment at all. Both are surfers, and X is interested in music (bluegrass) where Z is interested in all things aboriginal (he speaks a good bit of the A-mei language, as i understand it).

Now Z made the mistake of showing his support for the poor fellow currently amidst prosecution; he showed up at one of the trials and, on the way out, Mr Peter Chen pointed his finger at him and stated “You’re next.” X, on the other hand, had never met Mr P.C. until two days ago (more on that later), but was made aware by a few of his friends of the fact that P.C. was going around the city here asking lots of questions about him.

But that was just the beginning. My friend X came home one day to discover that P.C. had come to his landlord and demanded a copy of all the keys to the locks in X’s home. Fortunately it’s a small place – and frankly not at all secure – so that when the landlord turned them over X was able to get all the locks changed cheaply and quickly. A few days later P.C. showed up at his home while he was away and, apparently, with two other officers searched the place.

As a sign of X’s relationship with his neighbors, although they and the landlord were all commanded not to say anything to X, just after the events in question they all reported to him what was going on. X was understandably worried. Moreover, no warrants or notification was given him of these goings on, and there is some suspicion as to whether or not these events were, in fact, legal. More on that later.

Now – jump ahead to three days ago. Z comes home at about 8:30 at night and discovers two men in plain clothes rifling through his home with flashlights, in the dark. He confronts them from the doorway, and they immediately turn on the lights and identify themselves as policemen – except that for some reason they had hidden their uniforms with plain clothes! They explained that they had been called by a neighbor who had spotted a thief in his home and were investigating the report. Z demanded they leave, and they complied.

Now, this house also happens to be X’s registered address, although he spends little time there because he’s usually out of the city, surfing near his small place on the beach (the one that got searched). So it was a great surprise to Z when Peter Chen walks in and says “There is a thief who held up a convenience store near here with a plastic bb gun, and he fits your roommate’s (X’s) description”. Mr Chen then gives a quick summary: a little less than six feet tall, brown hair, etc. Z says that X doesn’t in fact live here, and Peter Chen insists on searching the place anyway (without a warrant, mind you – Z asked to see it, Chen apparently brushed the question aside and insisted on looking anyway: i’m not real clear about the exact details on that one).

So – P.Chen looks around, but when Z says that he knows X wasn’t in town that night and that many people (me, for one) can attest to the fact, Chen asks who does live there, and Z answers: Y. Chen then goes a bit crazy and starts to rant about the evils of X (whom he’s never met, doesn’t know much about, and who hasn’t ever done anything to intentionally hurt much of anyone, so long as i’ve known him), and the evils of Mr M, frothing at the mouth about how his superior officer – John Chen – tried to keep him from prosecuting the case but in the end he’d shown him! Then, finally, P.Chen leaves, Z calls X, nobody can find Y, and everyone gets quite worried about just what the hell is going on (me included).

The next day we discover that Y was at home asleep the whole time.

Unfortunately, we also discover that Peter Chen has made a housecall to X’s girlfriend – a wonderful and quite square young lady from a very square household, to whom X has been quite completely devoted now for some 1.5 ~ 2 years – and says, in the presence of her mother (who is a very timid widow) that X is a suspected drug dealer (!) and may be involved in the theft of a local convenience store. He then attempts to question the young woman for a half an hour or so; she basically refuses to answer any of his questions, and he threatens her saying that he knows X is her boyfriend, that they’ve tracked his van to her house, that they know he spends a lot of time with her, that she could be implicated, and so on and so forth.

X, Y, and Z all decide to go in and complain to John Chen who has made it known through a third party that he’s quite willing to receive formal complaints about Peter Chen. Except that it’s Chinese New Year and of course the department head doesn’t much want to cut his vacation short. So instead the three go in to see Peter Chen and John Chen promises to send along two of his lieutenants to oversee what’s exactly taking place.

Along the way they stop off at the convenience store where all this supposedly occurred and the two witnesses – the clerk and the manager – both state definitively that the suspect wasn’t any one of the three. But the problem is that when they get to the Police station, the description seems to have changed: to someone about 5’5" with blond hair (i.e. – fitting the description of Y). Peter Chen brings in the clerk, who points at X and says that the fellow had his face, and then at Y indicating that sort of body. The three state their complaints and, in the process, X manages to get Peter Chen to admit that he had X’s keys copied – whereupon he presents him with a receipt from the locksmith and demands that he compensate. Peter Chen says that X must submit the form through the “proper channels”, and continually insists that he’s just conducting a normal investigation, the three make their complaints, and then leave.

And that’s where things stand now: three very nervous young men, two of whom (X and Z) like Taidong very much but are now worried they’re being run out of town by a renegade cop.

Personally, i think the inconsistencies speak for themselves; but of course i’ll stick around here to listen to whatever questions y’all have about the situation, and answer them as well as i can. X has been a close friend of mine for some time now, and i can assert that he has done nothing whatsoever to deserve this sort of treatment. i’m not going to be logging on over the next few days, but i promise that Sunday i’ll check back in and fill in the missing background i promise. 'Til then, i hope y’all have a good time going over this story - and once again apologize for the abrupt nature of my appearance, here.

Thanks, Taitung Man, that’s exactly the kind of info that we were wanting to know about. Wow. Sounds like a good story for the TT, if they follow up now, of even NEXT magazine, if they dig at the TRUTH. Very very weird, but just as I somehow imagined … yes, a set up! Sleazy!

To the three “suspects” – good luck amd you have our sympathies! Hang in there, and yes, hang ten!

i’ll be sure to pass on the message. i’m sure they’ll be happy to hear that there’s so much trade on the online story.

i’ll be meeting up w/'em in just a few minutes – they’re checking out LOTR II right now…

Ciao –

P.S. - any suggestions or relevant experiences would be appreciated. My friends aren’t much of the activist sort, and are quite stymied about what might be the best way to go at things right now. For the moment, they’re just waiting-and-seeing – but Frazier has promised to stay on top of the developments, we’re contemplating getting the chinese newspapers involved (though my friends are quite reluctant about that), and it might be possible for us to draw in the Dong Shen channel’s “She Hui Jue Qi Lin” t.v. show (the one with a lot of the staged “reenactments” and such that tries to be an investigative news/social commentary source).

839 hits now at the Times website, more than hits here. After the last long post by our friend in Taitung, this story should hit front page next week or maybe Sunday. David Frazier, have your editors given you the go ahead to puruse this story or has it reached a dead end? We are counting on YOu to deliver the news ASAP, but when you find the smoking gun, if there is one?

best of luck with it all, sounds very hairy and scary, that one cop can have so much negative power, if that is really the case. let’s hope he gets transferred to a place he likes. maybe Green Island. nearby isn’t?

Invovling Chinese lingo paper might be good idea, but as for TV, forget they will just entertainize it, fuck it up, just let the papers and the Times tell the real story. Justice will prevail…

Sounds like a job for Hartzell … perfect example of a human rights issue involving foreigners …

Do you have any idea why this Paul Chen would want to run these people out of town? You say one of them has been convicted for forging a diploma. What is the story behind that? Also, as far as I can make out, SOMEBODY went into that convenience store and put the wind up the women behind the counter. If there are so few foreigners in Taidong then you must have some idea who it was. On the news it said he escaped on a bicycle, which would lead Sherlock Holmes here to conclude that he was a local boy. Do you concur, Dr. Watson?

It seems to me to be a simple set up, with cooperation of the store owner, the clerk and the police. Their words against his. There was No robbery attempt, there was NO gun, there was NO attempted holdup. Pure set up, old boy style, INMHO. Possible scenario?

Then why didn’t the convenience store clerks identify the foreigner when they had the chance? This foreign affairs cop sounds like a guy in Nantou County we called Marvelous Marvin. He was very enthusiastic about his work. Deported at least 3 teachers in 1991.

80 foreigners, 20 teachers, 5 businessmen, 5 retired people, 20 maids, 20 Vietnamese brides, 20 missionaries, including that famous foot massage guy![/quote]
But that adds up to 90, doesn’t it?[/quote]
Ah, but I have a Nigerian friend who lives there with her three kids. That brings the count up to 91. Of course, she might be one of the missionaries.

I never ‘‘could’’ count very well!

I smell drugs and fake diplomas, but the real lesson I’ve learned is not to take employment in a conservative hick town in a developing country. This was bound to happen and I can’t believe people are actually shocked at the lack of an honest, straightforward system of justice. English teachers with fake diplomas stand no chance against local officials armed with guanxi and hongbaos.