SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (AP) _ Bulletproof glass and six sheriff's deputies protected a gangster during his arraignment on charges of killing a muckraking Chinese-American journalist in a plot that has reached into the top levels of the Taiwan military.

Tung Kuei-sen, 34, a member of the international United Bamboo Gang, appeared Thursday before Municipal Judge Walter Herrington, who continued the hearing to March 19 to allow Tung to confer with his laywer. A plea is to be entered then.

Tung remained in custody on $400,000 bail in the 1984 beating and shooting death of Henry Liu, 52, in the garage of Liu's Daly City home.

Tung said last year during a federal racketeering case against the Bamboo Gang in New York that he and another man shot Liu on orders from the Taiwanese government. He was convicted of conspiracy to smuggle heroin in that trial.

Liu, who was born in mainland China and became a U.S. citizen, had been critical of Taiwan President Chiang Ching-kuo and was slain the week he published a book about him, said Jerome M. Garchik, the lawyer for Liu's widow.

Tung was arrested in Brazil in 1985. Security was tight Thursday because authorities fear his former cohorts might try to free him.

Chen Chi-li, reputed head of the Bamboo gang, and another gang member, Wu Tun, were convicted in Liu's murder in 1985 in a Taiwan court and are serving life sentences.

Both are under indictment in San Mateo County, but Taiwan has refused to turn them over.

Taiwan's former naval intelligence chief, Vice Admiral Wong Hsi-ling, and two aides also were given life sentences in the case. Chen said he was enlisted by the admiral and several other high-ranking military officers to assassinate Liu as an traitor.

The Liu case sparked congressional hearings and an international furor over allegations that Taiwan was sending agents abroad to intimidate U.S. citizens of Chinese descent.