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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 October 2007, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK
Hundreds mourn Taiwan gang boss
Memorial service for Chen Chi-li, 18/10
Chen Chi-li was a gangland figure in Taiwan for half a century
The body of one of Taiwan's most infamous crime bosses, Chen Chi-li, has been flown back to Taipei, where hundreds attended a memorial service.

Chen, a leading figure in the Bamboo Union, Taiwan's largest gang, died of cancer in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Men in black suits and ties, many wearing dark sunglasses, turned out to pay their respects.

Chen, who was 63, gained global notoriety after murdering dissident writer Henry Liu in the US in 1984.

Mr Liu's books had exposed power struggles in Taiwanese politics, and his murder was said to have been ordered by military intelligence.

Chen was given a life sentence, but served less than seven years before being freed - after which he fled to Cambodia.

While he had not been actively leading the Bamboo Union for many years, Chen was widely regarded as one of its most important leaders, says the BBC's Caroline Gluck in Taipei.

He was among a group of teenagers who had founded the gang in the late 1950s to fight rival groups.

The gang was well organised and quickly grew.

The Bamboo Union is still the largest gang in Taiwan, though its numbers - thought to be around 10,000 - are far lower than they were at its height.

The gang is also active overseas, with cells operating in mainland China and other parts of Asia, in Europe and North America.

Country profile: Taiwan
17 Oct 07 |  Country profiles

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