Wed, Aug 27, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Ministry expresses worry over Australia drug cases

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

The increasing number of cases of Taiwanese involved in alleged drug smuggling in Australia is beyond ludicrous, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said yesterday.

Australia has arrested 24 Taiwanese in drugs busts this year, bringing the total number of Taiwanese arrested for drug smuggling in that nation to 50 in recent years, Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs deputy director-general Bob Chen (陳龍錦) told a regular news briefing.

“[This type of criminal behavior] is showing an upward trend, which is something we are very concerned about,” Chen said.

According to the ministry, the 50 Taiwanese arrested in Australia were involved in 29 cases linked to drug trafficking rings from 2009 to this year.

Four were apprehended for their involvement in three cases in 2009; one person each in 2010 and 2011; six in four cases in 2012; and 14 in 10 cases last year.

A 21-year-old arrested for drug smuggling was the youngest Taiwanese taken into custody, while the eldest was aged 72, and most of the rest apprehended were aged from 24 to 40, Chen said.

Most of the people caught had entered Australia on tourist visas, Chen added.

Australian authorities have also found drugs parcels mailed to the country, with arrangements for Taiwanese to claim the packages, Chen said.

While most of the cases are still on the docket, a Taiwanese was sentenced to 13 years in a prison for his role in a narcotics ring, a much longer sentence than usual terms of six to eight years given to other Taiwanese in Australia, Chen said.

Chen said that the ministry urges people to refrain from drug dealing, saying that involvement in drug rings will only do themselves harm, hurt others, as well as tarnish Taiwan’s image.

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