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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 May, 2005, 23:20 GMT 00:20 UK
Huge send-off for Taiwan mobster
Funeral procession in Taipei, Taiwan
The island's main gangs attended the funeral in Taipei
Thousands of mourners have attended the funeral parade of a veteran crime boss in Taipei, Taiwan.

Hsu Hai Ching, who died in April aged 93, was known as the "Ultimate Arbitrator" because of his skill in settling gangland disputes.

Members of the island's four major criminal gangs, sporting black shirts and tattoos, joined the procession.

Local media carried reports on Hsu's life, describing his rise from a Taipei market and his ties with politicians.

More than 100 police were deployed for the funeral but gang leaders promised there would be no trouble - calling it a "Peace Day of Gangs".

Taiwanese television said the island's main criminal organisations - Bamboo Union, Pine Union, Four Seas and the Heavenly Way Gang - had taken advantage of the event to show their strength.

Crime bosses from Japan's yakuza, Hong Kong and Macau also attended the funeral, according to news agency AFP.

Hsu is said to have started his illegal activities in a Taipei market and built close links with political figures during his time as a deputy of the Taipei city council.

"He was trusted by everybody. He was very fair in settling disputes," Kuo Wen-ching, a close aide to Hsu, told reporters.

Country profile: Taiwan
24 Mar 05 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Taiwan
26 Apr 05 |  Country profiles

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