Wed, May 15, 2002 - Page 2 News List

Vietnamese police seeking Taiwanese drug smuggler

DPA , HANOI

Vietnamese police are seeking a Taiwanese drug-smuggling suspect in connection with a major heroin bust at a Taiwan port, officials said yesterday.

Authorities at the Port of Kaohsiung seized 60kg of heroin packed in a shipping container that originated from Ho Chi Minh City, according to local officials.

The drugs were packed into bags of 1.2kg each and placed in a container on the Ming Chun cargo ship.

Police in Taiwan apprehended several suspects as they came to collect the heroin from the port and have asked Interpol Vietnam for assistance, according to Vietnamese police.

On Monday, police in Ho Chi Minh City announced to the press that they are on the lookout for two suspects in Vietnam, one of whom is Vietnamese, the other Taiwanese.

Police would not name either suspect.

"For many years now international criminals of Chinese origin, mostly Taiwanese, have established an international ring that traffics heroin, which is acquired in Cambodia, smuggled through Ho Chi Minh City and on to Taiwan," said one police officer in Ho Chi Minh City.

Despite draconian drug laws, Vietnam has a growing heroin problem.

According to official statistics there are 130,000 drug addicts with police records nationwide.

The largest ever drug bust in Vietnam was made last month when 13.3kg were seized at a residential house in Ho Chi Minh City.

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