Taiwan intelligence agency chief moves 20 officers in cigarette smuggling scandal

A total of 76 individuals were involved in last month's operation

NSB chief Chiu Kuo-cheng.

NSB chief Chiu Kuo-cheng. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – National Security Bureau (NSB) chief Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) has ordered 20 officers moved to new postings as a consequence of the scandal involving the smuggling of duty-free cigarettes during presidential trips.

Two NSB agents have been detained for having tried to smuggle about 9,800 cartons of cigarettes into Taiwan using President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) return from a foreign trip last month as cover, but the practice goes back at least five years.

One of the results of the scandal was the replacement of the head of the top intelligence agency by Chiu, who immediately vowed tough action against officials involved.

The first wave of disciplinary measures included the removal of about 20 officers of the Yonghe guard unit, a group of about 100 responsible for protecting the president, the Liberty Times reported Saturday (August 10). The individuals had either ordered duty-free cigarettes or known about the smuggling but did nothing to stop it.

The officers would return to their original postings in the military, according to the report, adding that the Army, Navy and Air Force were giving Chiu’s recommendations a quick response.

A total of 76 people were believed to have been involved in last month’s smuggling case, including 49 officers from the Yonghe group, the Liberty Times reported.