Tue, Oct 03, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Ministers reject Duterte’s allegations

CAPACITY:The justice minister said 70 to 75 percent of the drugs in Taiwan come from China, Hong Kong and Macau and local criminals cannot produce large amounts

By Stacy Hsu and Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporters

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte should provide evidence to back up his accusations that Taiwan is one of the origins of illegal drugs entering his nation, Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lee (李大維) said yesterday as lawmakers pressed the government to take concrete actions to defend Taiwan’s reputation.

“The Philippines need to present evidence, without which all the accusations are groundless,” Lee said in response to questions from legislators during a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee on whether the ministry has taken any concrete steps, other than issuing clarifications, to address the issue.

The government has been working with its Philippine counterparts to fight the illegal drug trade, Lee said, adding that criminal Investigation Bureau statistics show that cooperation between Taipei and Manila has led to arrests in 12 major drug cases involving 1,000kg and 8,000kg of finished and semi-finished narcotics worth an estimated NT$2 billion (US$65.76 million).

Duterte on Sept. 20 named Taiwan as a source of drugs during a speech he gave to a police academy alumni event, and in a speech on Wednesday last week he said that the Philippines was a client state of the Bamboo Union, naming the Taiwan-based organized crime group and the Hong Kong-based 14K triad as the main sources of illegal drugs entering his nation.

Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Deputy Director Peter Lan (藍夏禮) told the committee that Taipei and Manila have signed crime-fighting agreements that allow them to establish communication platforms to combat terrorism and drug-related cases.

Treaty and Legal Affairs Department Director General Lincoln Ting (丁樂群) said that Representative to the Philippines Gary Lin (林松煥) has written an opinion piece for a Philippine newspaper emphasizing the two nations’ cooperation in fighting illegal drugs and has met with the Philippine minister of justice and the head of Manila’s police department.

Meanwhile, Minister of Justice Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) told a meeting of the Organic Laws and Statutes Committee that Taiwan could not be a source of drugs to the Philippines because Taiwanese crime organizations have little capacity to produce and smuggle drugs to other nations.

Chiu rejected Duterte’s claim that Taiwan was one of the sources of illegal drugs entering his country during the question-and-answer portion of the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee meeting.

“Seventy percent to 75 percent of the drugs found in Taiwan are from China, Hong Kong and Macau, and it is unlikely that drugs are manufactured here and smuggled to other nations,” Chiu said.

Citing information from the Ministry of Justice’s drug prevention networks, Chiu said Taiwan-based crime groups do not really have the capacity to mass produce drugs in Taiwan, but there have been Taiwanese involved in manufacturing illegal drugs overseas.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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