Thu, Jul 25, 2019 - Page 12 News List

FSC probing purchase of cigarettes

By Kao Shih-ching  /  Staff reporter

The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) yesterday said that it is investigating how a National Security Bureau employee was able to charge more than NT$6 million (US$193,025) to a single credit card to buy cigarettes in an alleged attempt to smuggle them into the nation.

Wu Tsung-hsien (吳宗憲) allegedly tried to smuggle 9,200 cartons of cigarettes worth more than NT$6.45 million when he returned home with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) from a state visit to the Caribbean, New Power Party Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) has said.

Wu on July 8 placed five orders through China Airlines Ltd’s (CAL, 中華航空) online duty-free store and paid with a credit card, with the payments each amounting to NT$1.26 million, NT$2.92 million, NT$1.1 million, NT$1.06 million and NT$190,000, Huang said.

The allegation has raised questions over how Wu, a public servant, could have such a high creidt limit on his card and whether he took advantage of any loopholes in regulations.

As most banks set the credit limit to 22 times a cardholder’s monthly income, it is impossible for a bank to give Wu a credit limit higher than NT$6 million unless his monthly income is more than NT$300,000, the Chinese-language Ettoday.com reported.

Wu deposited NT$6 million into his account at the card-issuing bank before placing the order, which is why the bank approved the transaction, Ettoday reported, citing anonymous sources confirmed by Huang.

Cardholders can overpay to their banks in advance for large purchases, but they cannot overpay more than NT$500,000, the Banking Bureau told the Taipei Times, citing regulations against money-laundering.

If a client conducts transactions inconsistent with their incomes and cannot offer an explanation, banks should record the incident, save the related documents and notify the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau within 10 days, the bureau said.

The bureau declined to comment on reports that Wu was using a card issued by E.Sun Commercial Bank Ltd (玉山銀行), citing an ongoing investigation.

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