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Over 150 kg of narcotics, protected turtles seized: CGA

2018/01/17 18:51:17

The authorities found 34 kg of amphetamines, 120 kg of ephedrine, 276 kg of an unidentified powder and a total of 69 Chinese box turtles and Asian yellow pond turtles on a fishing vessel about 40 nautical miles off Taoyuan's Zhuwei Fishing Harbor.

Taipei, Jan. 17 (CNA) The Coast Guard Administration (CGA) seized over 150 kilograms of narcotics and many protected turtles, arresting six people, in a raid on a fishing vessel off the coast of Taoyuan Tuesday.

The CGA's Taipei Reconnaissance Brigade received a tip-off in October last year of a 35-year-old man surnamed Chang (張) who on multiple occasions steered a Hsinchu-registered fishing vessel to waters off Pingtan County, in China's Fujian Province.

During these trips, Chang was also found to have turned off the ship's voyage data recorder, which is a recording system similar to the black box used on airplanes.

Chen Tso-lin (陳佐霖), the Taipei Reconnaissance Brigade deputy head, said the fishing vessel was discovered to have left Hsinchu's Nanliao Fishing Port Sunday and officers boarded the vessel Tuesday about 40 nautical miles off Taoyuan's Zhuwei Fishing Harbor.

Upon boarding, the authorities found 34 kg of amphetamines, 120 kg of ephedrine, 276 kg of an unidentified powder and a total of 69 Chinese box turtles and Asian yellow pond turtles, which are protected species, Chen said, adding that Chang, who was also wanted for possession of firearms, was arrested at the scene.

An initial investigation showed that the drugs and turtles were to be smuggled into Taiwan, although Chinese box turtles are usually smuggled out of Taiwan rather than in, raising the question of why they were being smuggled from China into Taiwan, Chen said.

Chinese box turtles, which are a protected species, are rescued from plastic containers as they were being smuggled on a fishing vessel Tuesday in waters off Taoyuan. Also found on the boat were large amounts of illegal substances, including amphetamines and ephedrine.

Hu Yi-gang (胡意剛), the CGA deputy chief, said Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) inspected the CGA's anti-drug training and work procedures on the same day of the bust, demonstrating the government's determination to combat narcotics.

(By Wang Chao-yu and William Yen)
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