Luo Fu-zhu was actually an independent, although he and the KMT had close ties as a result of the KMT’s “localisation” drive in the 1980’s. At the beginning of the Lee Teng-hui era the KMT saw it needed to make serious inroads at the local political level in order to maintain its grip on power after the emergence of nativist organizations like the pro-Taiwan Tangwai movement (itself an outgrowth of the KMT) and the DPP (in turn an outgrowth of the Tangwai movement) in the south.
Client-Patron deals were struck by the KMT with local chiefs and borough wardens (gang heads/ politically influencial figures with gangland connections) around the country (in Luo’s case, Pingtung county) where largesse would be fed down from the central government in exchange for pro-KMT votes. These local chiefs were a pragmatic bunch, and the potential business opportunities under this system trumped contempt for “mainlanders”.
This KMT “black gold” phenomenon continues to this day in the south. The Kaohsiung city council corruption case is a good example of how the KMT was able to place its candidates in powerful positions in the heart of DPP country. Taipei is not totally clean either, with the gang-related shooting of a city councilor in 2002 as an example of the politco-gangstah relationship. I’d venture to say most of the gangster-political shenanigans goes on outside of the major municipalities, in the counties where oversight is a lot more lax (just look at Yen Ching-piao’s jailhouse election as Taichung county commissioner a few years back).
Don’t know for sure just how much on the take the DPP is, but interestingly enough it was none other than Luo Fu-chu and other gangland figures in the legislative yuan who held out against Lien Chan’s move to impeach Chen in 2001 over CHen’s cancellation of the #4 nuclear boondoggle construction. Conventional wisdom held that Luo and the boys were hoping Chen would remember them as he implemented his anti-black gold capaign early on in his first term. Chen didn’t and Lo was eventually brought up on “corruption, fraud, breach of trust, usury, forging documents and misappropriation of funds”.
By the way, after having lived next to “KTV Land” in Taichung, I can attest that gangsters tend to prefer “My Way” by Frank Sinatra, and the masterworks of the King of Jinmen.