A star narcotics agent with the Keelung Police Department has been arrested for allegedly heading a drug trafficking ring that included four former colleagues.
Lieutenant Huang Ching-jui (黃慶瑞) was arrested by Keelung District Prosecutors’ Office head prosecutor Chiu Chih-hung (邱智宏) on Monday.
The arrest caused a sensation because of the reputation Huang had built over the past 30 years. He played a central role in the confiscation of 100kg of ephedrine and 30kg of heroin in Keelung’s Cidu District (七堵) in 2009 and was even borrowed by the district prosecutors’ office for a while when it was setting up its own narcotics division.
Chiu said a source told authorities that Huang had smuggled narcotics and his alleged ring had made a huge profit in September last year.
The source also said another shipment would be smuggled in by foreign sailors on a freighter on Jan. 28, Chiu added.
The Keelung Police Department issued a gag order to prevent Huang from hearing about the investigation or the preparations for a raid.
A man identified as the alleged transporter, surnamed Tseng (曾), was arrested on Jan. 28 with 3.15kg of heroin.
Police said the heroin had a market value of about NT$20 million (US$658,300).
According to police, Tseng — who was facing a possible life sentence — cooperated with their investigation, giving them the names of Huang, a former police officer surnamed Chen (陳) and an alleged drug addict named Yao Chao-hsiao (姚兆孝).
Police said Chen died on Feb. 4 after visiting a hospital with Huang.
The coroner on duty that day, surnamed Chen Chien-yu (陳建宇), insisted on performing an autopsy on Chen’s body despite opposition from the family because he had doubts about the death, police said.
They said they are still waiting for the results of the autopsy.
Huang was relieved of his duties and transferred to the second precinct’s security unit on Feb. 7.
On Monday, Chiu ordered Huang’s detention and a search of Yao’s apartment.
Heroin was reportedly found in Yao’s apartment and Huang was arrested on charges of drug trafficking.
Huang has denied the charges.
The Taipei District Court approved keeping Huang in detention and barred him from having visitors on the grounds that he might try to flee the country.
Yao has not been detained, but has been restricted to his residence, the police said.
They said border control authorities have also been alerted that Huang’s alleged accomplices might try to leave the country.
The police said that a second round of arrests would be carried out soon.
Meanwhile, local media reports said yesterday that Keelung Harbor authorities have not stepped up security in the wake of the drug ring allegations, as minivans and scooters were seen leaving No. 6 pier without any inspection by harbor police.
Keelung Harbor Police Department chief secretary Chen Tsai-kui (陳財貴) said examination of personnel and cars by harbor police when entering or leaving restricted areas is mandated by the Commercial Port Act (商港法).
If the reporters’ claims are true, personnel who failed in their duties would be punished with a minor demerit, Chen Tsai-kui said.
The district prosecutors’ office said passengers and luggage must undergo X-ray inspection before being allowed to enter the country, but foreign sailors are not scanned because the 28 manned inspection points do not have X-ray inspection machines.