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Investigation Bureau warns of rising drug use in Taiwan

2018/10/11 23:01:57

CNA file photo

Taipei, Oct. 11 (CNA) The Investigation Bureau has warned of a sharp rise in the consumption of illegal drugs in Taiwan, urging relevant agencies to tackle the problem and proposing law enforcement cooperation with other countries to combat increased cross-border drug trafficking.

The bureau made the call in its annual work report released on Wednesday, in which it detailed its anti-drug prevention efforts in 2017 and analyzed the new trends in the drug market.

According to the report, the amount of illegal drugs, such as the first-grade drug heroine and the second-grade drug marijuana, seized by all levels of authorities across Taiwan grew markedly last year.

For instance, it said, 499.1 kilograms of marijuana were seized throughout the country in 2017 -- 22 times higher than the 22.6 kilograms confiscated in 2016. This indicates a sharp rise in demand for marijuana in Taiwan, the report pointed out.

The report said most of the narcotics were delivered to Taiwan from the United States or Canada by drug dealers via couriers or were smuggled into Taiwan hidden in containers.

Last year, a batch of high-end marijuana was found on board a mainland China fishing boat for the first time, highlighting a growing demand in Taiwan for the drug that can be accessed from different channels, the report pointed out.

In light of the seriousness of the crime, the bureau called for international law enforcement cooperation to effectively clamp down on cross-border drug trafficking, due to the entrepreneurial approaches adopted by international drug rings in producing, transporting and marketing narcotics.

With the drug market expanding fast all over the world, more Taiwanese drug dealers are now working with international drug dealers to cash in on the narcotics trade, the bureau said.

Given Taiwan's location and its strong distant-sea fishing industry, the island has been increasingly used by international drug rings as a transshipment hub for drug trafficking, it warned.

In recent year, a growing number of Taiwanese people have been caught acting as drug mules in Southeast or Northeast Asia for international drug rings, the bureau said. In response to this challenge, borderless cooperation by law enforcement authorities in different countries is needed, it said.

Against such a backdrop, the bureau said it has established contacts and engaged in the exchange of information with law enforcement authorities in 27 countries and territories in Europe, America, and Asia to effectively and swiftly smash drug trafficking rings.

(By Hsio Po-wen and Flor Wang)