Taiwan and Japan coast guards, police, cooperate in 600kg amphetamine smuggling operation bust

At least three Taiwanese suspects were arrested yesterday, after Japan Coast Guard officers and police intercepted a vessel in Kumamoto Prefecture attempting to smuggle 600 kilograms of amphetamine into Japan.

Taiwan Coast Guard Administration officers in Kaohsiung tipped off their counterparts in Japan after receiving information on a transnational narcotics smuggling operation headed by a Taiwanese national named Huang.

According to reports, Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) had been investigating the case for several months, and after notifying Japan’s National Police Agency International Investigative Operations, formed an ad-hoc international investigation team.

Investigators yesterday, December 11, tracked a Japan registered fishing boat carrying Huang, 43, and Japanese crew members. The vessel left a fishing port in Miyazaki Prefecture, Kyushu and connected with a fishing boat off the coast of Kyushu island. The second vessel was manned by Huang’s Taiwanese accomplices named Hong, and Chen, both 68 years old.

Police then boarded the vessel when it arrived at a fishing port in Amakusa, Kumamoto Prefecture, also on Kyushu, at around 5:30pm local time.

Police seized 600 kilograms of amphetamine on the vessel with an estimated value of JPY 36 billion (NT$10 billion).

The seizure marks the largest drug haul in the history of Taiwan and Japan bilateral cooperation. In December 2018, Japan and Taiwan signed a Memorandum of Understanding pledging to cooperate in combating drug smuggling, human trafficking, and illegal fishing operations in regional waters.

As the investigation expanded today, more suspects were arrested, bringing a total of 11 arrested so far, including four Taiwanese nationals. Pictures from the operation are not yet available as the investigation is ongoing.

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