Police confiscate record ketamine haul at CKS airport

CONTRABAND: Two people were arrested after police found 63kg of the drug disguised as bags of ice to keep a shipment of fish fresh


Thu, Sep 09, 2004 - Page 4

Police arrested suspected mem-bers of a drug trafficking ring on Tuesday after confiscating 63kg of liquid ketamine at CKS Inter-national Airport, investigation and prosecution sources reported yesterday.

The seizure marked the largest ketamine haul ever at CKS airport, according to an official from the Taipei Municipal Police Investigation Department.

The ketamine, a grade three contraband drug, has an estimated street value of NT$100 million (US$2.9 million), the investigators said.

Two suspects, identified as Ong Tze-tsang (翁澤滄) and Lan Chia-chieh (藍家杰), were apprehended in Taipei and Taoyuan soon after the seizure.

The method of smuggling was unusual, according to the police, as the smugglers put bags of frozen ketamine in containers of live fish, disguising the drugs as bags of ice to keep the shipment fresh.

Ong, a former employee at a customs brokerage house and suspected member of an international drug ring, had registered the shipment as eight containers of live fish from Thailand.

Investigators said that they had been tipped off in March that a cross-border drug trafficking ring was planning to smuggle ketamine from Cambodia to Taiwan via Thailand.

After six months, the investigators learned of Ong's alleged involvement and traced the source of the ketamine from the Cambodian supply source. They found that the shipment had first been transported from Cambodia to Thailand by road. It was then brought to Taiwan via air cargo.

Investigators said they believed that Ong and his alleged accomplices had used the method to smuggle liquid ketamine into the country more than 10 times since February this year.