I have spoken with Non-Formosa ESLers- They all tell me, “Do NOT live in Tiajung it is the Gang City of Formosa- They own everything are everywhere.” Then I ask the same thing to some of my co-workers from here- they are all like mmm no I do not think so… - not true. Then there is a fellows website - very helpful by the way- that also seems to warn about a big Gang problem in Taiwan and the south- Maybe the Gang guys do not pick on a huge fat American Sumo looking Esl teacher - or maybe I just do not go into the right clubs / businesses - but I have yet to see more than one or two guys with tattoos- who may or may not have been gangsters… Anyhow, it seems like hype to me. Still I could be wrong- I mean I do not go around at night in a ninja suit busting in on Gambling houses and splitting tables- In fact I have yet to visit a casino here- no real desire to do so… In New York there were or (are?) known fancy restaurants that were owned operated and frequented by Big Boss Mafia Gangsters. And I remember there use to be a mob garbage and concrete influence there too. I guess it could be the same here as well- sort of a sublime but ever present ‘legitimate’ gang presences here. And, please please please Gangsters do not come and get me - I am just a large overgrown stoat sojourning in your country - I’m not the “Punisher” even if I was a Marine like Frank Castle too…
There are lots of gangsters and wannabe gangsters here, and I’m told there are a lot of guns, too. But they won’t bother you unless you give them a reason to. It isn’t a problem unless you make it one.
The young punk “wannabe gangsta’s” are usually the problem, if ever. They’re not gansters by any measure of the word, but dress in their version of hip-hop fashion, drink way more than they can handle, vomit in the urinal before midnight and range in age from 18 to 21.
Perhaps a mixture of influence from US “gangsta movies” and Japanese pop culture, who knows. Just their version of “finding” themselves. We were all weird at that age.
The only contact I’ve had with bona fide gangsters was on one occassion that I had a slight scrap with another foreigner (ironically the only problem I’ve ever had in Taiwan, go figure…) who was very drunk. He mistook me for someone else, and the local folks know me ( at least at the spot where I was), took offense at his language and chucked him out on his ass. End of story.
Outside he still ranted and raved, and to their credit they did nothing physical to him. Just stood around laughing at him telling him to bugger off, which he eventually did.
if you want 'gangster" trouble it is easy enough to find. brothels are often in close proximity to police stations. there was a gambling den next door to a police substation. the pachinko parlours make money and you can guess who runs them. people aren’t sitting there for hours on end to win packs of cigarettes. they “win” those packs and take it off site where they are swapped for a more reasonable reward. the binglan boothes,many temples, the used car lots… the brotherhood is all over the place and is ingrained in the culture itself.
fascinating to observe indeed, but as always “look but don’t touch” is a good idea.
Don’t worry fella, they’re softies.
Stay on the right side of them, that’s all…
The idea that the south is more overrun with gangs than the north is strictly nonsense. The island’s most powerful gang is the northern-based Bamboo Union.
I live in Taichung and gangsters have never bothered me. Lots of longterm expats enjoy living here. It’s a lot cheaper than Taipei, there’s always a place to park, and the city is two hours from anywhere on the west coast. I recommend Taichung over anywhere on the island for long-term living. Taipei just sucks the money out of you…
Gangsters never bother expats unless there is good reason. They won’t bother you.
As far as I know if you stay with legit places you will not know about them. Just dont go working for bing lang places, gambling places, game places, or anywhere that has those type of things and you should be fine.
I think gangster wannabe might be more of a problem however…
gangsters are generally friendly to foriegners,and for the same reason that MOST taiwanese are friendly to foriegners:
you’re a break from the back stabbing, false faced, unhappy taiwanese that they meet every day. they feel they can let their guard down around you, impress you with their cool, and pull your leg a little. you are an ANT to them. you have NOTHING to offer them but a change of pace from “damn taiwanese” as my friend says. they won’t cheat you(generally), because they’re not desparate.
don’t mix with them but don’t run when you see them. they’ll even help you sometimes. remember what someone told me a long time ago:
“hei dao yeh sz ren” (mafia are people too)
the wannabes are the problem. see them coming, “hide thyself” as the Bible says.
I have a Taiwanese friend who works where real gangsters do frequent… he says that gangsters are generally nice and generous (as in tip alot) as long as you dont get in the way of their interests. Like I said wannabes is the problem (and where I work there are lots of them)
Gangsters here are very concious about their faces so they wont get aggressive at common people for no reason. People lose respect when they do get agressive for nothing.
Which you’ll be doing often, because there’s no public transportation and no practical way to walk anywhere.
And I’m 3-6 hours from anywhere on the west coast. With a few minor exceptions (Tainan, Lugang), the further away, the better.
Correct that … 15/16-18 would be better …
And last night I was surprised that my wife told me that Sanxia is the #1 gangster hangout at the moment …
And maybe related to that or not, a result of the above maybe … there are about 800 HIV/AIDS sufferers here on a population of 80,000 …
Don’t start nothing,won’t be nothing. People here are generally pretty passive except when they’re driving. And that my friend is what I would be worried about. A Taiwanese blue collar worker driving to work is a hundred times more dangerous than any mobster I’ve met.
telling people to turn it down is also dangerous, though you win points with most people by having the guts to go over and ask. those that don’t respect anything but force… better have something to back yourself up or you could take a beating.
i was surprised at how they’re (average hick with a bad temper) actually scared of the cops, contrary to popular belief. they’re too poor to pay for bail and fines. and most real gangsters could care less about whacking a “lao wai” for asking you to turn it down. they’d want it turned down too. these guys have no real connections and asking real connections to do something so meanial would make them lose their connections.
bamboo gang deals in whole industries, big stuff like concrete, steel, controlling import/distribution of products with a large profit margin (i’m not even talking drugs here). if you were a bank president, they’d be interested in getting you to embezzle a penny off each dollar. that would be a substantial income. a penny off each dollar on construction materials for a highway would also. you’re not with the highway dept. or a construction company so you my foriegn friend, are insignificant (thankfully). i’ve heard they’re not really that into prostitution either. so relax.heck you might end up teaching their kids english.
United Bamboo Members’ Code of Ethics (Source: US Customs Service report)
Harmony with the people is the first priority. We have to establish good social and personal connections so as not to create enemies.
We have to seek special favors and help from uncommitted gang members by emphasizing our relationships with outside people. Let them publicize us.
gambling is our main financial source. We have to be careful how we handle it.
Do not take it upon yourself to start things and make decisions you are not authorized to make. You are to discuss and plan all matters with the group and the elder brother first.
Everyone has their assigned responsibility. Do not create confusion!
We must not divulge our plans and affairs to outsiders, for example to our wives, girlfriends, etc. This is for our own safety.
We have to be united with all our brothers and obey our elder brother’s orders.
All money earned outside the group must be turned over to the group. You must not keep any of it for yourself. Let the elder brother decide.
When targeting wealthy prospects do not act hastily. Furthermore, do not harass or threaten them. Act to prevent suspicion and fear upon their part.
If anything unexpected happens, do not abandon your brothers. If arrested, shoulder all responsibility and blame. Do not involve your brothers.
also these articles:
So, as my wife told me about Sanxia being ‘gangster heaven’, I said yeah but there is the police … she answered … yeah, right the police … jeez … :s
Wow a lot of views and info on this- thanks… Hmmm well Ok so I will try to not upset hip-hop waana-be thugz or blue collar truck drivers. Anyhow, I had no problem in America ether as I was not into any of the things that attract crime/gang types. Apparently though some expats I have talked to, and some writing here, are convinced there is a subtle underlying interwoven organized crime presence in the infrastructure of Taiwan- kind of like when they had the Big Boss Mayors in America. Please correct me if I am a Cultural And Slanderous Chauvinist but, I wonder if it is more prevalent here because the culture is more conductive to ends justify the means - and the greatest good is the friend and family. Whereas you (did) have a Moral backbone in the West that delegated that crime and dishonesty were always wrong. But, Maybe I am just a Cultural-Centric fella who done think every dag gone thang is done right in the South and the rest of the peoples need to learn some gentile values…
Its mostly bullshit perpetrated by people who don’t really have much of a clue about life in Taiwan. The poster has it closest. Gangsters are not interested in poor people. There’s no profit in it.
By far the type of people people here describe as “gangsters” are just street thugs. They’re about as far removed from organized crime as your average hoodie living on a council housing estate in Dagenham.
Not to say they’re not dangerous – they’re probably FAR more of a threat to your average drunk English teacher than any gangster.
Solution : Drink at home
I live in Dajia(small town in Taichung county) I was in a teahouse and heard a loud noise followed by people pouring into the teahouse. My curiosity wins and I walk outside to see a man walking down the street with a large gun. He jumps in the passenger side and the SUV speeds away while a clean cut middle aged man comes running out of the teahouse with a small pistol. After that no less than 40 guys gather in the street with machetes, bricks and guns. They proceed to hide in anticipation of his return and with hopes of rushing the vehicle. Sure enough he does return with a proper movie style drive by shooting! They board cars and scooters to track him down and the cops show up(at this point it’s only me and a couple other straglers), the whole thing lasted about 10 minutes. I suspect these guys are just punks with weapons as opposed to an organized group.
Yow Whitetiger! sounds reminiscent of the Hatfield VS the Mcoys or an average dispute in Haiti… I turned my best friend and life into the armory :bravo: - unless I heard cries of help chances are I be looking for cover and concealment :help: - or better yet way way downrange from such situations. Mmmm well maybe I’d stay too to see…