According to statistics from the Ministry of Justice, 2012.7kg of the drug ketamine were confiscated last year between January and October, and China is apparently the largest exporter of the illicit substance, accounting for 1523.1kg, or 75 percent. To prevent ketamine from entering the country, the ministry has ordered the Coast Guard to strengthen its efforts to catch smugglers at sea and the Customs Authority to strengthen its controls of cargo containers, mail and checked luggage.
Taiwan and China have also established collaborative channels for catching drug traffickers, but for many years now the Chinese have been preoccupied with fighting against drug trafficking in their own borders, and have therefore not been able to actively pursue the mission of keeping illicit drugs from entering Taiwan. Speaking candidly, one high-ranking police official said that it would be nearly impossible to solve Taiwan’s drug problem simply by relying on cross-strait cooperation.
It is undeniable that the proliferation of ketamine in Taiwan is linked to China, and according to the ministry’s data on the origin of all ketamine obtained by authorities, China is indeed the main source. The country is also generally acknowledged internationally as being a major drug producer, transfer nation, and country-of-origin for many of the illegal synthetic drugs on the global market.
In recent years, drug traffickers have used fishing boats, international parcels, checked luggage and shipping containers as methods for transporting ketamine from China to Taiwan. Fishing vessels have been caught on numerous occasions smuggling the drug from China, and in one case more than 300kg of the substance were confiscated, which subsequently caused the price on the black market to go from just below NT$200,000 per kilogram to between NT$600,000 and NT$700,000.
If there is a way to make a buck, there will always be someone out there willing to try. With an increasing amount of drug traffickers being caught, alternative ways to get the drug into the country are sprouting up. Some people are now going to China to learn how to make ketamine, shipping the raw materials to Taiwan, including hydroxylimine hydrochloride, solvents, as well as the equipment for making it, and then manufacturing the substance in Taiwan’s mountainous areas.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)