New Power Party Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) yesterday called for the resignation of China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 中華航空) chairman Hsieh Shih-chien (謝世謙) after the company denied being complicit in an alleged smuggling case involving a National Security Bureau (NSB) agent.
Huang on Monday said that the official, Wu Tsung-hsien (吳宗憲), attempted to smuggle 9,200 cartons of cigarettes worth more than US$200,000 when he returned to Taiwan with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) from a state visit to the Caribbean earlier in the day.
Wu, who accompanied Tsai on her trip, allegedly pre-ordered the cigarettes using China Airlines’ online duty-free store with help from the airline, Huang said.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
It was written on the order that the cigarettes were to be picked up on the return of the president’s airplane, but they were never delivered to the plane, he added.
Instead, the cigarettes were kept in the airline’s storage facility until they were transported to five trucks that later joined Tsai’s motorcade leaving the airport, he said.
While China Airlines on Monday insisted that it had followed procedures in handling the purchase, Huang said that the company was “full of lies” and avoided taking responsibility.
It sold Wu 9,200 cartons of cigarettes, despite custom laws stipulating that only certified tobacco sellers can import more than five cartons of cigarettes, he said.
The airline also left no records that the cigarettes were being kept in its storage facility, he said, adding that the cigarettes had not been logged into the facility’s inventory and that no records indicated that the cartons had been moved to the plane or returned to the facility.
Huang said that shortly before the news conference yesterday, a China Airlines representative had told him that the chairman knew nothing about the matter and was unable to provide any information about the case.
“If that is the attitude of the chairman, I would say please resign,” he said.
Huang added that National Security Council Secretary-General David Lee (李大維) still owes the public an explanation.
“Please tell us if anyone in the council is involved in the case. How can the secretary-general of the National Security Council be hiding this whole time?” he asked.
Two other people on the flight ordered duty-free goods that were not sent to the plane for pickup, Huang said.
The legislator added that he could not reveal further details as they were part of an ongoing investigation.
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