Biggest amphetamine smuggling bust in Taiwan history: 1.4 ton drug haul intercepted at Port of Kaohsiung

Eight people have been arrested in connection with a 1.4 ton haul of amphetamine and ketamine intercepted at the Port of Kaohsiung in what police described as the biggest amphetamine smuggling operation bust in Taiwan’s history.

According to information released at a press briefing yesterday, November 15, the Criminal Investigation Bureau received intelligence in February this year that drug traffickers were planning to smuggle a large quantity of drugs using cargo ships berthing at the Port of Kaohsiung.

After long-term surveillance and evidence collection, police swooped and intercepted a truck that had just been loaded with “garbage” from a freighter berthed at the port. A large quantity of drugs was found hidden under the garbage. The trafficking syndicate had attempted to take advantage of the fact that garbage unloaded from cargo ships did not have to go through customs inspection.

Police stop and inspect truck at the Port of Kaohsiung
Police stop and inspect “garbage truck” at the Port of Kaohsiung. Picture Credit: Criminal Investigation Bureau, National Police Agency.

According to the investigation, the drugs were shipped from Vietnam after being picked up by the Cameroonian-flagged freighter, Feiyan, off the coast south of Hong Kong. On August 7, the ship berthed at the Port of Kaohsiung on the pretext of disposing of garbage and resupplying.

After unloading the truck and searching the ship and other vehicles, a total of 1.2 metric tons of amphetamine, 201 kilograms of ketamine, NT$5.15 million, and US$50,000 in cash was seized and confiscated by prosecutors. Investigators estimate the value of the drug haul as exceeding NT$2 billion, setting a record for the largest amphetamine smuggling operation ever uncovered in the country.

A total of 8 people have been arrested in connection with the narcotics smuggling operation, including the alleged financier of the operation, a man named Lee.

police escort handcuffed suspect alleged to have financed the biggest amphetamine smuggling operation in Taiwan history
Police escort alleged financier of drug smuggling operation, Lee.

The Criminal Bureau appealed to the public to have the courage to report illegal drug smuggling and manufacturing operations. According to Article 6 of the Measures for Rewards and Punishments for Preventing Drug Harm, rewards for reporting drug cases can reach up to NT$10 million, and the reporter will have their identity protected and kept confidential.

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