DILI, East Timor – East Timor police say there will be zero tolerance against those who continue to practice martial arts after the government banned all clubs following deadly gang violence.
Armando Monteiro, National Police detective chief, says at least 12 East Timorese have been killed and more than 200 injured in the past two years as a result of fighting between rival clubs.
Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao issued a resolution outlawing the popular clubs two months ago.
Martial arts clubs have a long history in East Timor, with many students fighting against Indonesia's military occupation. Active clandestine members also supported guerrilla fighters and some made significant contributions toward winning the country's independence in 2002.