8KG of pure heroin smuggled in shipment of Buddha statues from Myanmar

Five suspects have been arrested following the discovery of a batch of heroin bricks hidden in a box of Buddha statues at Taoyuan International Airport in July.

Aviation police said that the suspects imported a shipment of Buddha statues from Yangon, Myanmar, in May, 2021. However, the goods sat at the airport for a long time before anybody attempted to pick them up and make a customs declaration.

Two months later, in July, a man named Liu turned up at the airport to claim the goods. However, when questioned by airport police, Liu became visibly nervous to the point of panic. Customs officers opened the box of statues for an inspection to find 22 heroin bricks disguised as partitions separating the 24 Buddha statues.

Buddha statues and heroin bricks
Heroin bricks thinly disguised as partitions.

Aviation police seized the evidence which weighed in at 8.14 kilograms. The heroin bricks were branded “Double Lion Globe” with the slogan “smooth sailing,” and labeled “100% pure.”

Double Lion Globe brand 100% pure heroin brick

The subsequent three-month-long investigation led to the arrest of four more suspects, named Fan, Lin, Chiou, and Kao. The five suspects were handed over to the Taoyuan District Prosecutor’s Office to be charged with offences against the Drug Hazard Prevention Act.

The main suspect is said to be a man from Hsinchu City with a gang background.

Aviation police, presenting the evidence at a press briefing, Wednesday, said that due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the price of heroin has soared to a market price of NT$9-10 million per kilogram. The high price is incentive for criminal elements to take risks to smuggle the contraband.

The Aviation Police Bureau warned the public that anyone who manufactures, transports, or sells first-level drugs could face a sentence of death or life imprisonment; those who are sentenced to life imprisonment will be fined up to a maximum of NT$30 million.

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