Taiwanese citizen arrested in New Zealand in major meth bust

New Zealand Customs discovered 110kg of methamphetamine hidden in a shipment of golf cart batteries

Photo from New Zealand Customs office

Photo from New Zealand Customs office

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A 39 year old Taiwanese man and his 27 year old Chinese partner in crime were arrested last week in New Zealand on charges of smuggling methamphetamine into the country.

New Zealand customs seized 110kg of the drug in late January, one of the country’s largest busts, after it was discovered hidden inside a shipment of golf cart batteries aboard a shipping container. There were also two handguns found in the shipment as well

The shipment had been sent from the United States of America. Address information on responsibility for the shipment led to the arrests of Chiu Tan Yu, the Taiwanese national, and Linmo Peter Sun, the Chinese citizen in late February.

The New Zealand Customs authorities estimate the value of seized class A controlled drug at NZ$ $55 million (US$37.5 million). However, authorities claim the drug bust has prevented some NZ$163 million (US$92 million) in “social harm” according to the New Zealand Drug Harm Index.

The two men were arraigned last week in Auckland District Court and their names were released to the public on March 3, reports Stuff.co.nz. They have pleaded not guilty to the charges of importation and possession of the drugs.

The Chinese national was reportedly in the country illegally, reports New Zealand Herald.

Originally, the court allowed for a name suppression order, because of the Taiwanese citizen's lack of English ability, and the Chinese citizen, his mother and their lawyer, successfully argued that the man's grandparents in China would be shocked if China's state media reported on the story.

That order was lifted on Sunday, March 3.

The bust was reportedly made thanks to collaboration between the country’s National Organized Crime Unit and the customs office. Customs Investigations Manager Bruce Berry was quoted in the official press release.

“Customs is committed to targeting and stopping smuggling attempts like this one, and the criminal syndicates responsible for trying to bring illicit drugs into our country with no concern for the devastating harm it causes.”