The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) is to launch a six-month nationwide drug crackdown targeting dealers, Minister of Justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) said yesterday.
Tseng made particular mention of drug abuse on school campuses at a Greater Tainan forum attended by investigators and representatives of local communities.
Dealers provide free drugs to teenagers at first and then demand payment once the youths have become addicted, Tseng said.
In order to pay for their habit, many young males turn to stealing, while females drift into prostitution and are controlled by organized crime gangs, Tseng said.
“Dealers who take advantage of such young people are beyond forgiveness. Students [arrested during the sweep] will be sent to rehabilitation centers,” he said.
Tseng’s remarks came in response to media reports yesterday about a drug bust on Monday in which police arrested eight people who were supplying teenagers with illegal substances and then forcing them into prostitution or making them sell drugs. More than 200kg of amphetamine and heroin was seized in the bust.
Police said almost 60 students from 10 elementary and high schools had been recruited by the group.
Raids by the Taichung District Prosecutors’ Office earlier this month on more than 100 locations led to the arrest of nearly 60 suspects for involvement in eight drug rings. Thirty of the suspects were under the age of 18.
Taichung Deputy Mayor Tsai Ping-kun (蔡炳坤) said at the time that the suspects were allegedly using drugs to manipulate young people, adding that drug abuse in schools is becoming a rampant problem in Greater Taichung.
According to a survey conducted by the Crime Research Center of National Chung Cheng University, a record high of more than 3,000kg of illegal drugs were seized in 2010, with an increasing amount of amphetamine, which has become popular among young people.