Thu, Jan 08, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Police nab alleged ketamine kingpin

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau agents escort alleged drug baron Rao Ho after arresting him in Meinung Township, Kaohsiung County, on Monday.

PHOTO: CHANG CHUNG-I, TAIPEI TIMES

A suspected Taiwanese drug lord wanted in seven countries or territories has been arrested in Kaohsiung County on charges of producing ketamine, the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB) said on Tuesday.

Rao Ho (饒和), 70, acquired the technology to manufacture ketamine in Japan when he was in his 30s and quickly emerged as the alleged mastermind of an international drug trafficking ring after his return to Taiwan in 1990.

Rao had been listed as wanted by law enforcement authorities in Taiwan, China, Macau, the US, Australia, the Philippines and Malaysia.

Over the past five years Rao frequently traveled to China and Southeast Asian countries using a bogus passport to engage in cross-border drug trafficking.

Acting on a tip-off that Rao had returned to his hometown, Meinung Township (美濃), to manufacture ketamine for sale before the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday, coast guard officers, MJIB agents and police and in Kaohsiung County, Kaohsiung City and Pingtung County teamed up to raid Rao’s hideout in Meinung on Monday.

MJIB officials said Rao’s drug lab was housed in a metal shack in a mountainous area and was hidden by chicken and duck nests.

Law enforcement officers seized 50kg of finished and semi-finished ketamine and a large amount of production equipment, worth more than NT$100 million (US$3 million).

Rao had been arrested by local police on a number of previous occasions but had never been convicted of drug production or trafficking.

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