Wed, Aug 22, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Huge heroin haul is the biggest catch in a decade

SMACK!With information gathered early this year, authorities observed a drugs gang and swooped on a fishing boat as it returned from Cambodia

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau officers in Greater Kaohsiung yesterday display heroin seized from a Kaohsiung-registered fishing boat.

Photo: Huang Chih-yuan, Taipei Times

The Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau and the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) yesterday announced they had seized 70kg of heroin, worth nearly NT$2 billion (US$66.8 million), from a Taiwanese fishing boat, the biggest trafficking case in a decade.

The bureau said in a press statement that investigators intercepted the fishing boat in the Bashi Channel on Monday and brough it back to Kaohsiung International Harbor.

After a two-hour search, investigators discovered 171 packets of heroin stashed in the cabin, the bureau said.

The bureau received information in February which said that a large shipment of heroin could be smuggled into Taiwan from Cambodia before the Sept. 30 Moon Festival, which prompted an investigation.

Investigators identified a Kaohsiung gangster surnamed Chuang (莊) as the leader of the operation and started monitoring his activity.

Chuang and a Pingtung County township representative, surnamed Chang (張), as well as a man surnamed Chen (陳), were involved in the trafficking, the bureau said.

The fishing boat left for Cambodia toward the end of last month and headed back to Taiwan with the heroin on board in the middle of this month, it said.

The bureau said the people on board the boat pretended to be fishing for a couple of days before finally approaching Taiwan. With Typhoon Tembin approaching, the crew decided to enter Taiwanese waters on Monday.

Seven suspects were arrested, including Chuang, Chuang’s girlfriend, two people surnamed Chen, the boat’s captain, surnamed Pan (潘), as well as two crew members.

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