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Kaohsiung police seize almost 1,300 kg of ketamine in record drug haul

2018/02/04 18:31:20

Photo courtesy of Kaohsiung District Prosecutor Office

Taipei, Feb.4 (CNA) Police on Friday raided a fishing boat at a pier in Kaohsiung and seized 1,289.6 kilograms of ketamine in the biggest drug bust in Taiwan's history, a prosecutor said Sunday.

The captain of the boat, surnamed Chen, was detained for questioning, while the five Indonesian crew members were handed into the custody of the agency that hired them, said Lai Yu-shan (賴郁山) of the Kaohsiung District Prosecutor Office, at a press conference.

He said the 1,289.6 kilograms of ketamine seized had a street value of NT$3 billion (US$102 million) and was a record haul in Taiwan.

The drug bust was carried out after weeks of investigation and surveillance, based on a tipoff that a drug syndicate was shipping drugs into Taiwan, Lai said.

The Sheng Li Man, which is registered in Donggang in Pingtung County, was put under surveillance after it set sail in January because investigators discovered that it was not often engaged in fishing activities, Lai said.

On Friday afternoon, the Kaohsiung drug squad learned that the Sheng Li Man had lost power in waters near Lamay Island off the coast of Kaohsiung and that another fishing boat had been called for help, he said.

The two boats were towed by a coast guard patrol vessel to a pier in Kaohsiung, where they were searched, Lai said.

The city's law enforcement personnel found 126 bags of ketamine wrapped in black plastic and hidden under a freezer on the Sheng Li Man, he said.

The Kaohsiung drug squad will continue its investigation to ferret out the source of the drugs and find other possible suspects, Lai said.

(By Cheng Chi-feng and Shih Hsiu-chuan)
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