Corrupt Taiwanese cop behind record-breaking 1.5-ton drug load from Vietnam

Cop confesses to taking NT$10 million bribe to cover up 1.5-ton drug load smuggled from Vietnam

Raid on container. (Ciaotou Prosecutor's Office photo)

Raid on container. (Ciaotou Prosecutor's Office photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — After the discovery of the biggest drug cache inside a container in Taiwanese history, a police officer has confessed that he took NT$10 million (US$326,000) in bribes to cover it up.

Earlier this year, Kaohsiung's Ciaotou District Prosecutor's Office directed the seizure of 1.5 metric tons of illegal drugs stashed inside a container, which, in turn, led to the arrest of a police officer surnamed Wu (吳), who had taken bribes to look the other way. Prosecutors found that Wu, an officer with the Special Police Third Headquarters, imported containers under the name of a company with a good track record in exchange for NT$10 million, reported UDN.

On Jan. 28 of this year, officers opened up a container in Kaohsiung Harbor and found 1.5 tons of illegal drugs inside, a record haul from a container in Taiwan. The authorities traced the shipment to a 48-year-old customs broker surnamed Shen (沈), who informed them that a police officer surnamed Wu had been helping to cover up the shipments, according to the report.

Drugs concealed between layers of plywood. (Ciaotou Prosecutor's Office photo)

When police took Wu in for questioning, he confessed that he had helped smuggle illegal drugs on two occasions. Prosecutors said that a 45-year-old man surnamed Lin (林), a man surnamed Chen (陳), and Wu were part of a drug-smuggling ring.

According to the report, Lin first approached Wu, saying he wanted to smuggle one metric ton of drug-making ingredients into Taiwan. He promised Wu NT$10 million in exchange for helping conceal the operation.

Wu then suggested that that the containers be brought in under the name of a major company in order to avoid arousing the suspicions of customs officers. The trio ordered their first shipment posing as "East X Company."

Bags of amphetamines and ketamine seized on the scene. (Ciaotou Prosecutor's Office photo)

To avoid detection, Wu forged false records in advance. However, there was a contact error, which led to the return of the container ship to Vietnam.

In January of this year, the men used the same method to import two containers under the name of "New X Company." They declared that the cargo inside was "plywood."

This time, the task force was already on their trail, and on Jan. 28, they raided the warehouse where the containers had been stored. Inside one of the containers, officers found 500 bags of amphetamines weighing about one kilogram (kg) each, and they also found 1,000 packages of Ketamine weighing 1 kg each, or a total of 1.5 metric tons, reported UDN.

Bags of amphetamines and ketamine seized on the scene. (Ciaotou Prosecutor's Office photo)

However, before the raid took place, Wu had informed Shen that an inspection was coming, and Lin and Chen did not show up to take delivery of the container as originally planned. After police began their investigation into Wu, they eventually managed to track down the ringleaders and arrested Wu, Chen, and Lin in March of this year.

Prosecutors said that the 1.5 tons of drugs seized from Vietnam was the largest amount found in a container in Taiwan's history. As Wu had brazenly neglected his own duty to protect his country from contraband, and since neither Shen nor Lin showed any signs of remorse, prosecutors have asked the court to impose the heaviest punishment possible.