TAIPEI • Taiwanese authorities are investigating alleged efforts by China to destabilise the island through the funding of groups linked to Taiwanese triads, according to the Financial Times.
This reportedly followed recent clashes between supporters of a pro-China political party in Taiwan and pro-independence protesters.
The pro-China political party - the Chinese Unity Promotion - backs unification between China and Taiwan. The party is run by notorious gangster-turned-politician Chang An-lo, 70, also known as "White Wolf".
China considers Taiwan a renegade province to be taken back by force, if necessary.
Relations between Taipei and Beijing have nosedived since Ms Tsai Ing-wen of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party won the presidential election last year.
Pro-China organisations in Taiwan are now under scrutiny as the island's Criminal Investigation Bureau probes the links between political parties and organised crime, the Financial Times reported. The bureau has not said who or which parties it is investigating.
Mr Chang's Chinese Unity Promotion party was said to be one of the organisations under scrutiny.
On Sept 24, clashes broke out at the Sing! China: Shanghai-Taipei Music Festival held at the National Taiwan University in Taipei.
Among the many issues upsetting students from the university, one was about a poster that described the university as "Taipei Taiwan University", which got the attention of both pro-independence and pro-unification groups, said Focus Taiwan News Channel. Protesters from all sides crashed the event, resulting in scuffles and injuries.
Supporters of Mr Chang's Chinese Unity Promotion party were said to be involved in the violence against the student protesters calling for independence.
Defending his supporters, Mr Chang said: "Chinese people say, if you don't bother me I won't bother you. But if you bother me, I will bother you back."
In the interview with the Financial Times, Mr Chang said his goal of unifying Taiwan with China is in line with Beijing's policy. But he denied that his party had received funding from groups controlled by the Chinese government.
The only time Chinese officials had tried to influence his activities in Taiwan, said Mr Chang, was when they asked him not to use a Chinese flag at his rallies.