Police last month uncovered a shipment of 100,000 9mm bullets mixed into a shipment of trapshooting shotgun shells to be delivered to Taichung, drawing concern from national security agencies over the timing of the find, the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) reported yesterday.
The Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) received an anonymous tip informing it that a company that has permits to import guns and knives had attempted to smuggle in the 9mm bullets with a legitimate delivery of ammunition from Cyprus, the report said.
The company was commissioned by a shooting range in Taichung that ordered 100,000 shotgun shells, the report said, adding that were it not for the tip, customs officials would not have suspected there was anything wrong with the shipment.
Photo provided by the Criminal Investigation Bureau via CNA
The CIB at 11am yesterday told a news conference that it had made a record seizure of illegal ammunition.
The shipment arrived on Oct. 29 at the warehouse, where the CIB conducted a search and found the illegal ammunition, the CIB said.
While the order was for 100,000 shotgun shells, the shipment contained only 83,300, with the leftover space filled with 9mm bullets, it said.
The shipment has been confiscated and the company official in charge of the shipment, surnamed Chen (陳), has been summoned for questioning, the bureau said, adding that it has also asked a district court to detain him.
The Liberty Times quoted national security officials as saying that the case prompted concern amid a protracted US election and the increased frequency of Chinese military airplanes entering Taiwan’s air defense identification zone.
It is possible that illegal arms dealers in Taiwan attempted to smuggle in the bullets, as they recognize that there is a falloff in performance when pairing improvised firearms with non-standard-issue bullets, the report quoted officials as saying.
While improvised firearms are comparatively easy to make or acquire, making bullets requires specialized knowledge and equipment, making it rare in Taiwan, the report said, citing police officials.
Prosecutors and the police are looking into the possibility that the bullets were among a series of packages that entered customs separately to reduce the possibility of attracting attention, the report said.
Additional reporting by CNA
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