Largest drug bust in Taiwan's history: 1,300 kg of ketamine seized in Kaohsiung

The ship had been under surveillance since January, after a tip to police about the smuggling operation

Officers boarding the Sheng Li Man

Officers boarding the Sheng Li Man (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On Friday, Feb. 2, Kaohsiung Police raided a fishing boat docked at a pier along Taiwan’s southern coast, to discover nearly 1,300 kg of ketamine wrapped in 126 packages.

According to the Kaohsiung District Prosecutor, this bust of ketamine is the largest drug bust in Taiwan’s history.

CNA reports that the exact amount of ketamine seized by officers was 1,289.6 kg, which is estimated to have an approximate value of NT$3 billion or US$102 million.

The ship’s captain has been detained by police for questioning, and five Indonesian crew members were arrested, but then turned over to the agency that hired them to work on the fishing boat, according to the report.

The ship, called the Sheng Mi Lan, had been under surveillance since early January, after police received a tip that a drug smuggling ring was operating in the waters around Kaohsiung, according to CNA.

Drug use has been recognized as an increasing problem among the youth in Taiwanese society. The government has recently taken measures to implement harsher penalties for drug possession.

Meanwhile, government figures like Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je insist that more must be done to promote proper education regarding the harmful effects of drugs.

Ketamine is currently designated a class C narcotic in Taiwan.

A spiral of ketamine crystals (Wikimedia Image)