Customs officers at Kaohsiung Port yesterday said they have seized 2,000 boxes of cigarettes holding 1 million cartons of cigarettes inside two shipping containers from China, while Penghu County authorities said they last month confiscated more than 11,000 boxes of contraband Chinese cigarettes aboard a Panama-registered cargo ship operated by a Chinese crew.
Customs Administration officials said both were likely smuggling operations run by criminal elements from several countries, as the seized cigarettes were undeclared and untaxed, and the ships originated from Chinese ports.
The cigarettes seized in Penghu had an estimated value of NT$500 million (US$17.36 million), while those in Kaohsiung were valued at NT$70 million, the agency said in a statement.
Kaohsiung customs officers became suspicious of the two 40-foot containers waiting for transshipment at the port’s No. 70 pier after they were unloaded from a cargo vessel originating from China’s Guangdong Province. The containers were listed as being destined for the Philippines’ Subic Bay Port.
Shipping documents for the containers declared their contents as “stretch film,” but customs officers discovered they were loaded with boxes of leading cigarette brands from the Philippines, including Fortune, Two Moon and Mighty, the statement said.
Customs officers seized the boxes due to falsified information on the bill of lading and other shipping documents, and for not paying taxes.
They said they would also investigate possible contraventions of the Customs Anti-smuggling Act (海關緝私條例) and the Tobacco and Alcohol Administration Act (菸酒管理法).
In Penghu on Sunday, prosecutors concluded a preliminary investigation into the seizure of contraband cigarettes on Oct. 30 at Suogang Harbor.
Charges of smuggling and other offenses were laid against the 13 Chinese crew members of the cargo ship, along with contraventions of the Tobacco and Alcohol Administration Act, and the laws governing relations between peoples of Taiwan and China, the prosecutors said in a statement.
The investigation found that the ship left Ningde Port in China’s Fujian Province early last month.
It first headed to Cai Lan Port in Vietnam, where it allegedly picked up the illicit cargo of 11,158 cardboard boxes of contraband Chinese cigarettes, including popular brands such as Panda, Baisha and Zhonghua, along with some high-priced luxury brands that cost up to 100 yuan (US$15.20) a pack in China, prosecutors said.
The modus operandi of Chinese smugglers has been to have cargo ships sail along the Chinese side of the Taiwan Strait and divide the illicit cargo among civilian Chinese fishing boats, which then either try to sneak into small Taiwanese harbors at night or transfer the contraband goods to colluding Taiwanese fishing boats, with criminal rings coordinating communication, prosecutors said.
The gig began with a nun chanting on stage, but suddenly erupted into a wall of noise unleashed by distorted guitars and screamed sutras — the unique sound of Taiwan’s first Buddhist death metal band. The nation has a vibrant metal scene, but few outfits are quite as eye-catching as Dharma (達摩樂隊), a band that aims to deliver enlightenment via the medium of throaty eight-string guitars and guttural roars. Dressed in robes — black, of course — they use traditional Sanskrit sutras as lyrics, but everything else screams death metal, from bloody face paint on stage to growled vocals, relentless riffs and
‘VIRUS DIPLOMACY’: The nation’s expertise in handling COVID-19 was among the reasons that it should not be excluded from the WHO, the European Parliament said The European Parliament this week passed resolutions that support Taiwan’s bid to participate in the WHO and its intention to negotiate a trade pact with Taiwan. During its plenary session from Monday to Thursday, the parliament approved resolutions on the foreign policy consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak and the EU’s trade policy, parts of which were viewed as friendly toward Taiwan by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a statement yesterday, the ministry welcomed the passage of the resolutions and thanked the parliament for its support for Taiwan. In the first resolution, the parliament cited Beijing’s increasing threats to Taiwan, the crackdown on
LOOPHOLES: The people behind biased media content produced by a Chinese network, likely without sending staff to Taiwan, remain anonymous, a source said Beijing’s latest attempt at psychological warfare through heavily biased online media is aimed at sowing discord and polarizing Taiwanese society, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said. The council’s comment came in response to Chinese network Southeast Television, which late last month began broadcasting an online program featuring commentary by Taiwanese unification supporters that authorities suspect was filmed illegally in Taiwan. To circumvent cross-strait regulations, the broadcaster collaborated with online service provider Baidu to air the series titles Diverse Voices From the Taiwan Strait (台海百家說). Only Taiwanese are shown on camera, without revealing the host, interviewer or production team. In one video, political commentator and
SUPPRESSION: Michael Tsai, a former defense minister, said that Beijing’s list of Taiwan independence advocates contravenes the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights The best way to respond to threats from China against Taiwan independence advocates is for the president to publicly reiterate Taiwan’s sovereignty, former minister of national defense Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) said on Sunday. Chinese media on Nov. 15 said that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was compiling “a list of stubborn Taiwanese separatists and will severely punish them in accordance with [China’s] Anti-Secession Law and hold them accountable for their actions for the rest of their lives.” Chinese media subsequently accused Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) of being a “first-rate war criminal,” because of his policy on mask exports. “The vast majority