Many years ago, gangsterism in Taiwan was so rife that there appeared to have a parallel govt run by the gangsters in the island. I am not too sure what is the situation today but it is quite often to see senior govt officials paying respect at the funerals of gangster chiefs. In the Chinese vocabulary, the secret societies are called 黑社会, or Black Society. This has become a friendly joke even here when wearing black becomes a fashion among the young and they were affectionately called 黑社会.
The pervasive presence of the Black Society in all walks of life emboldened them, particularly in the movie industry that they started to make movies to glorify their lifestyles, playing up on values like brotherhood, loyalty and honour and how good they were. I could still remember a movie starring Tony Leung as a secret society chief. And they were having their clandestine ‘cabinet’ meeting in the spa pool. Several secret society chiefs were present.
Tony Leung proposed that they should go into politics, run for election and hold their meetings in Parliament in the next round. His idea was shockingly realistic. He told them that being members of the 黑社会, their main business was related to finance. They controlled the gambling dens, prostitution, drugs, smuggling people, and yes, money lending and money laundering in a big way. And there were similar legitimate organizations in the main stream society, casinos, stock exchange, social escort agencies, night clubs, pharmaceuticals, employment agencies, banking and finance and money laundering in a big way by the banks.
If only they were in Parliament, they could appoint their own finance minister, CEOs of banks, of casinos, of stock exchange, and all the related money making agencies legally. In other words, if the黑社会 was the govt in charge, they could take over the whole island. They could own the island by appointing their own secret society members and clans men themselves. Oh, the fighters, the hit men, can take over the police and the army as police commissioners and generals. If I am not mistaken, the黑社会 also has their justice system too.
The secret society chiefs gave him a standing ovation. They said, let’s do it and the stupid govt would not have a clue what was happening when they had taken over everything. And Tony Leung would be the natural President of the island. This was some thirty years ago. Obviously they did not succeed or the Black Society, 黑社会, would be running the island today.
It was a great practical thought then and they could succeed if the govt was weak and careless and did not know what was going on. The 黑社会 was well organized, and could conspire to achieve what they set out to do. They were not only as well organized as the political parties, except without legitimacy, they could be very ruthless working under cloak and dagger to get their ways and put their members in position of power.
Tsai Ing Wen or her predecessor Ma Ying Jeou don’t look like gangster chiefs from whatever angle you view them. Thank God it was only a movie. Can’t imagine what the island would become if the 黑社会, succeeded. They would be wearing black ties, black shirts and black suits in Parliament and making themselves very rich, controlling all the financial institutions and the casinos and the stock exchange in the island.