Taiwan Interior Minister Says 70 Percent of Illicit Drugs Come From China

October 18, 2018 Updated: October 18, 2018

Taiwanese independent politician Chao Cheng-yu raised the question at the Oct. 17 meeting of the Legislative Yuan: “The government has been seizing more and more drugs, but where do they come from?”

The answer, for the most part, is China, according to Interior Minister Hsu Kuo-yung.

The Internal Affairs Committee of the Republic of China Legislative Yuan invited Hsu; Director General of National Police Agency Chen Ja-chin; as well as officials from the ministries of justice, health and welfare, and education for a discussion of the government’s anti-drug efforts. The Republic of China (ROC) is the official name for Taiwan.

Chao said that last month, police in Thailand seized 355 kilograms (about 783 pounds) of amphetamines in operations that involved Taiwanese smugglers. On Oct. 16, Taiwanese gangs were caught helping smuggle 90 kilos of methamphetamine to South Korea. It was at this point that Chao then asked his question.

According to Hsu, 70 percent of illicit drugs came from China, necessitating further investigation and a zero-tolerance policy. A significant amount of the rest is produced in Southeast Asia, while very little is produced in Taiwan itself, he said.

As of the end of June, 2,757.2 kilograms out of 3,601.9 kilograms of drugs—about 77 percent—confiscated in Taiwan were from mainland China and Hong Kong. Hsu stressed that the drugs confiscated by Thai police last month weren’t Taiwanese in origin, but were from Thailand, and had been discovered with cooperation from ROC authorities.

Officials said the 355 kilograms of Thai amphetamines were seized Sept. 26 in a rental house in Pattaya in Thailand; the suspect in charge of delivering the drugs, a man surnamed Jiang, is a Taiwanese. The drugs, which originated in the Golden Triangle of Myanmar, were hidden in Chinese tea bags labeled “Guanyin King” for transport in bundles to the rental property.

The 90-kg methamphetamine seizure by South Korean authorities was the largest single amount of the drug confiscated in that country, with a street value estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency. Three Taiwanese were arrested in connection to the seizure. South Korean police believe the Taiwan Bamboo Union Gang and the Japanese Inagawa-kai crime syndicate were involved.

Mainland China is one of the world’s biggest producers of drugs, including the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl, targeted by the U.S. Senate in recent regulations.

According to the Associated Press, “five of the six online fentanyl vendors investigated in a new Senate report are based in China. The sellers sent hundreds of packages to more than 300 sources in the U.S. by way of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).”

Fentanyl, a drug that’s 30 times stronger than heroin, claimed the lives of more than 20,000 Americans last year, and has been implicated in the deaths of celebrities, including Prince and Tom Petty.

U.S. President Donald Trump issued a statement on Twitter, saying that fentanyl “comes pouring into the U.S. Postal System from China. We can, and must, END THIS NOW! The Senate should pass the STOP ACT – and firmly STOP this poison from killing our children and destroying our country. No more delay!”

In Taiwan, Chao called upon the ROC government to take effective measures against drug smuggling and the gangs that facilitate it.