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Thai visitor investigated for drug smuggling: Aviation police

11/30/2023 04:48 PM
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A Thai suspect (center) is arrested in June for attempting to smuggle heroin via Taiwan’s border. Photo courtesy of the Aviation Police Bureau
A Thai suspect (center) is arrested in June for attempting to smuggle heroin via Taiwan’s border. Photo courtesy of the Aviation Police Bureau

Taoyuan, Nov. 30 (CNA) A visitor from Thailand is being investigated for allegedly trying to smuggle drugs into Taiwan via the country's main gateway, according to the Aviation Police Bureau (APB) on Thursday.

The Thai national was arrested at Taoyuan International Airport in June, after customs officers discovered 17 packs of heroin weighing a total of 13.589 kilograms in his luggage, chief of the APB's 1st Criminal Investigation Division Hsu Yao-tse (許耀澤) said.

Heroin, opium and cocaine are classified in Taiwan as Category 1 narcotics, and under the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act, offenders caught manufacturing, transporting or selling such drugs are subject to the death penalty or life imprisonment.

The amount of seized heroin is estimated to have a street value of billions of New Taiwan dollars, Hsu said.

Based on an investigation, the suspect was hired as a migrant worker in Taiwan last year, but quit his job and returned to Thailand, he added.

The Thai national was later allegedly recruited by a trafficking ring, and instructed to take a four-day, three-night trip to Taiwan on a visitor visa as cover for smuggling drugs into the country.

The suspect claimed he was promised 100,000 baht (US$2,862) if he managed to pass through customs in Taiwan without getting caught, Hsu said.

The APB official said authorities are still looking into the source of the drugs and the man is currently being investigated by Taoyuan prosecutors on suspicion of violating the narcotics law.

The man has been in custody since June as the investigation remains ongoing.

(By Wu Jui-chi and Ko Lin)

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