A Chinese-American graduate student surnamed Lin (林) is being held on suspicion of running a syndicate shipping firearms from the Philippines to Taiwan and onward to Hong Kong and cities in China.
The evidence suggests that Lin, 31, who studies at a Taiwanese law school, led the operation, police said, adding that Lin has been in custody since late last month and they had decided to restrict his communications from yesterday.
Lin was born in China, but his family later moved to Hong Kong, a National Police Agency official said, adding that he obtained UK citizenship and US citizenship before moving to Taiwan to study law seven years ago.
“Investigators found that Lin was operating an international firearms smuggling racket. He marketed himself as an arms dealer on YouTube and other Web sites, where he posted handguns for sale and videos of target practice to attract buyers,” said Third Special Police Corps first squadron leader Hsu Ke-chiang (許克強), whose unit collaborated with the Criminal Investigation Bureau.
When they last month raided the residences of Lin and four other suspects in Taipei and Kaohsiung, police and bureau officers uncovered pistol barrels, and magazines and slides for Beretta, Glock and IWI Jericho handguns.
Police intend to charge the five suspects with forgery and contravening the Controlling Guns, Ammunition and Knives Act (槍砲彈藥刀械管制條例) and the Organized Crime Prevention Act (組織犯罪條例), Hsu added.
Investigators found that Lin made frequent trips to the Philippines, Hong Kong and China starting in July last year, on which they suspect he sourced firearms and built connections.
Based on courier mail delivery records over the past year, Hsu said that Lin might have shipped firearm components for at least 20 handguns to Hong Kong and China, which he said could have yielded NT$2 million (US$67,078) in profit.
Bureau officials said investigators found that Taiwan was a transshipment center for the operation.
Lin placed orders with Philippine underground manufacturers to modify or manufacture replica parts, then smuggled them to Taiwan in shipping containers, hiding the firearm parts inside motors, pumps and machinery, the officials said.
Lin hired people to pick up the cargo using forged documentation and repackaged the parts for courier delivery to China, they said.
Four other suspects have been brought in for questioning in the case — a woman surnamed Chen (陳), and three men surnamed Liu (劉), Huang (黃) and Hung (洪).
Chen said she applied for a job online and Lin paid her only NT$6,000 as administrative assistant, while the other suspects all said they did not know it was an illegal smuggling business, the bureau said.
They said they only knew that Lin paid them to pick up goods, to deliver them and to provide their own names and addresses for the the inbound cargo and outbound courier shipments, the bureau said.
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
YOUNGEST PATIENT: Cases of botulism have been only sporadically reported over the past few years, with two in 2015, six in 2016 and none in the past three years The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported the nation’s first case of infant botulism this year, a four-month-old boy in northern Taiwan, as well as five new cases of Japanese encephalitis confirmed last week. The boy was introduced to homemade solid food in the middle of last month, but began to experience constipation and loss of appetite on June 23, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said, adding that he was taken to the hospital when he developed a fever and shortness of breath on June 25. In the hospital, the boy also experienced a rapid heartbeat, limb
The National Taiwan Museum’s Railway Department Park in Taipei is to open to the public today. The park in Datong District (大同) near the North Gate (北門, Beimen) is one of the museum’s four branches. During the Japanese colonial era, the site housed the railway department of the Office of the Governor-General of Taiwan’s Bureau of Transportation. After World War II, it served as the headquarters for the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) for several decades. In 2007, it was listed as a national monument under the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (文化資產保存法). At an opening ceremony yesterday, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung