TAIPEI (Taiwan News)— You might want to think twice before accepting a cup of instant hot cappuccino from a random stranger in Taiwan in the near future.
Last weekend, police arrested two men for lacing instant coffee with narcotics in two separate cases in Changhua County and Zonghe District of New Taipei City.
Instant coffee packs infused with three potent narcotics including ketamine, amphetamine, and ecstasy were found in Chuanghua County for the first time on Saturday, said Yen Chih-hao (鄢志豪), the head of the county’s Criminal Police Brigade.
Previously, drug-laced instant coffee packets found in the county contained only one type of narcotic, said Yen.
Police found 25 drug-tainted instant coffee packets at the house of a 33-year-old male suspect surnamed Lin.
Lin is a fugitive criminal pursued by police for alleged involvement in an illegal arms deal, and holds a criminal record for drug dealing.
Police suspect Lin was selling drugs to fund his escape, although Lin claims he purchased the stimulant-packed coffee for NT$300 (US$9.84) each from a man for his own consumption.
Last Saturday, police in northern Taiwan also found an uncommon mixture of bath salts in instant coffee blends in Zhonghe District (中和) of New Taipei City.
Police arrested a 39-year-old male suspect surnamed Jiang for selling bath salts disguised as instant coffee packets, and found large quantities of ketamine, amphetamines, and ecstasy in the rented apartment where he had been in hiding.
Cathinone found in the bath salts is a class two narcotic in Taiwan.
The designer amphetamine meow meow (喵喵) or also known as mephedrone, has been the more common cathinone party drug found in tainted coffee packets in Taiwan, said police officers.
Bath salts that contain MDVP that were detected in Jiang's coffee packets are more commonly found in the U.S. Users of bath salts that contain MDVP can experience numbness in the limbs, hallucinations and become extremely aggressive.
Coffee laced with narcotics has claimed the lives of several people in Taiwan over the last four months, including a model surnamed Kuo that died in early December 2016 from being force fed coffee laced with at a party that took place in five-star W-hotel in Taipei.
A New York University graduate surnamed Wu, became the latest overdose victim of drug-laced coffee in late February 2017 after a hard night of partying on drugs at a motel with her boyfriend.
The drugged coffee packets usually contain low dosages of narcotics, but people can easily intake excessive amounts of the drug when mixed with coffee, explained Yen.
If a person who takes the spiked coffee goes on to consume alcohol and vomits, friends of the drug overdose victims often will mistakenly think the person was drunk and delay sending them to the hospital for emergency treatment which can be fatal, he said.