Thu, Mar 30, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Judiciary, law enforcement negligent in fight against narcotics: lawmakers

DRUG HUB:DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yi said that as the nation is a low-risk location, international drug traffickers have begun using Taiwan as a drug transshipment center

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Legislators yesterday said the Ministry of Justice and other government agencies have been neglecting their duty to combat illegal drugs, alleging that the nation is becoming a hub for the shipment of narcotics to other Asian nations due to lax enforcement.

In the Philippines and Vietnam, authorities have been clamping down on the illegal drug trade through strict measures and severe punishments, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) said.

“As a result, drug producers and international trafficking rings have turned to Taiwan as a smuggling and transshipment center,” he said.

“Taiwan is low risk for them, as authorities have been unable to effectively interdict shipments of drugs and other contraband, and legal loopholes and feeble measures have been ineffective in combating the drug problem,” Lee said during questioning of Minister of Justice Chiu Tai-shan (邱太三) at a meeting of the legislature’s Organic Laws and Statutes Committee.

Lee asked Criminal Investigation Bureau Deputy Director Huang Chia-lu (黃嘉祿) to provide information on the arrests of trafficking suspects and drug seizures.

Huang confirmed that there has been an increase in drug trafficking activity in the nation, saying that suspects who have been arrested attempted to ship narcotics to Japan, Australia or New Zealand for international drug rings.

The bureau has been investigating such illegal activities, Huang said, adding that it cannot rule out China and Southeast Asian nations as the sources of the narcotics.

The committee was deliberating a number of amendments to the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act (毒品危害防制條例).

DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) told Chiu to get tough on the issue and crack down on drug dealers and traffickers, demanding that law enforcement agencies fight the problem in earnest and that judicial authorities mete out harsh punishment for drug-related convictions as a deterrent.

The use of illegal narcotics is becoming more prevalent in society, with such drugs finding their way into schools, leaving many young people addicted, she said.

“This is due to loopholes in the law, which results in lenient punishment being handed out to first-time users of ketamine and other Class 3 narcotics,” Yeh said. “Drug dealers have reportedly told students to try their goods, because if they get caught the students will not get into too much trouble.”

DPP Legislator Kuo Cheng-liang (郭正亮) criticized Chiu’s unwillingness to support amendments stipulating severe punishment for repeat offenders, saying that Chiu continues to give judges a free hand when making rulings in accordance with the circumstances of each case.

“President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has stated the importance of the nation combating illegal drugs and elevated the problem to a national secuity threat ... but you and the Ministry of Justice have done very little and continue to shift responsibility to other government agencies,” Kuo said. “You have let down the president.”

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