Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) yesterday presented the results of a raid on an illegal cannabis farm in Hsinchu County, where police seized more than 1,600 cannabis plants with an estimated street value of NT$500 million (US$17.76 million).
It was the largest cannabis seizure in Taiwan, officials said.
Speaking at a news conference at the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau Taipei Field Station, Tsai reiterated his ministry’s tough stance against illegal drugs and said it would continue to crack down on cannabis.
Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Justice
Police on March 19 raided a greenhouse in the hills of Guanhsi Township (關西), a bureau official said.
Two men, surnamed Chiu (邱) and Yu (虞), were detained on suspicion of running the greenhouse, and 1,608 potted cannabis plants were seized.
The bureau in a statement touted the operation as highly successful.
It praised bureau officials “for working from early morning to late night on that day” to search the site, gather evidence and transport the seized plants to Taipei for investigation in the biggest domestic cannabis seizure.
An investigation has been launched into the criminal ring and its alleged mastermind, who is suspected of providing financial backing and instructions to Chiu and Yu, the bureau said.
The bureau said it waited until yesterday to announce the bust, as it was one day after April 20, which is an annual day of celebration for marijuana users.
Tsai and bureau officials at the news conference presented seized materials, including dried cannabis leaves and buds, machines and equipment for desiccating, cultivating and watering the plants, as well as lighting equipment.
They also displayed a video showing rows of seized potted cannabis.
“There are people in Taiwan advocating for the decriminalization of cannabis, but this does not conform to the conditions in our nation... Cannabis is still a Category 2 narcotic under the law and authorities will crack down against it,” Tsai said, referring to the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act (毒品危害防制條例).
“It is our resolve to combat illegal drugs and we will not accept such a suggestion [decriminalization of cannabis]. Judicial investigators will continue to fight against cannabis smuggled from abroad or grown within our nation,” he added.
A group of more than 1,500 people on Saturday last week rallied outside the legislature to demand that the government decriminalize cannabis and legalize marijuana for medical use. The event drew a heavy police presence and sniffer dogs.
Officials at yesterday’s news conference told reporters that “each cannabis plant has a street value of NT$300,000 when dried and sold for consumption to users.”
The 1,608 plants seized at the raid would amount to nearly NT$500 million, which is “a record haul” for the bureau, they said.
However, marijuana advocacy group Green Sensation has in the past few years disputed the estimated values presented by officials, saying they are highly unrealistic and overly exaggerated.
It has accused the bureau and judicial investigators of announcing higher street prices to take more credit and gain higher performance citations, and for informants to claim higher monetary rewards for tip-offs.
‘LOCAL TRANSMISSION’: The nation reported 11 new cases, including seven local infections in the north, the highest daily number of cases since the pandemic began The COVD-19 situation has entered the “local transmission” stage and enhanced disease prevention measures have been implemented until June 8, the Central Epidemic Command Center announced yesterday as it reported six locally transmitted cases with unclear infection sources. The center reported 11 new cases yesterday: four imported cases from India, and seven local infections in northern Taiwan, the highest daily number of cases since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that one of the local infections — case No. 1,201 — is a woman who is a family member living with
SIXTEEN LOCAL: Three COVID-19 infections are linked to a cluster at a gambling house in Yilan County, 10 to a case in New Taipei City and three had unclear sources The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday urged people to increase vigilance and thoroughly practice preventive measures against COVID-19 as it reported 16 locally transmitted cases of the disease. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that 21 cases were confirmed in Taiwan yesterday: 16 local cases, four imported cases and one case undetermined. The locally transmitted cases are three linked to a cluster of infections at a gambling house in Yilan County, 10 associated with a previous case in New Taipei City and three with unclear sources of infection. The CECC on Tuesday reported a cluster
‘DOWN TO ZERO 2.0’: All pilots are to undergo quarantine at government centers, while cabin crew on long-haul flights have to quarantine for 14 days The Central Epidemic Command Center yesterday announced stricter measures to contain a COVID-19 outbreak among China Airlines (華航) flight crew, as the nature of the confirmed cases indicated an unknown chain of transmission within the airline. The “Down to Zero 2.0” plan will be tough on China Airlines personnel, but is necessary to minimize the risk to society, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. Under the measures, all China Airlines pilots and copilots are to be recalled to undergo quarantine at government centers, while cabin crew who are returning from long-haul flights or who have
GRID PROBLEM: A Taipower spokesman said that the blackouts were not due to usage exceeding supply, nor were they because of a problem at the Singda plant There were rolling blackouts across Taiwan yesterday due to a grid malfunction at the Singda Power Plant (興達電廠) in Kaohsiung’s Yongan District (永安), while Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) said that it was working “as hard as possible to resolve the issue as soon as possible.” At 2:37pm, a malfunction at an ultra-high-voltage substation in Kaohsiung’s Lujhu District (路竹) triggered four generators at the Singda plant to go offline, cutting power output by 2.2 million kilowatts and prompting Taipower to initiate rolling blackouts nationwide as it worked on the problem. Taipower spokesman Chang Ting-shu (張廷抒) told a news conference in Taipei that