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Taiwan nabs Thai tourist with heroin valued at NT$100 million

Former migrant worker joined tour group to return to Taiwan

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Inspectors found more than 13 kg of heroin in the luggage of a Thai tourist. (CNA, Aviation Police Bureau photo)

Inspectors found more than 13 kg of heroin in the luggage of a Thai tourist. (CNA, Aviation Police Bureau photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Thai tourist was caught at Taoyuan International Airport carrying more than NT$100 million (US$3.19 million) of heroin, police said Thursday (Nov. 30).

The man, identified by the initial “J.,” was employed as a migrant worker in Taiwan last year but left early, per CNA. A drugs gang recruited him to return on a four-day, three-night package tour, promising him 100,000 baht (NT$89,000, US$2,800) if he took heroin to Taiwan.

As he arrived in Taoyuan last June, an X-ray probe of his checked-in luggage raised the suspicions of customs, the Aviation Police Bureau said at a news conference Thursday. Inspectors waited until the Thai traveler had picked up his luggage and walked through customs before intercepting him.

In his suitcase, they found 17 packages of heroin weighing a total of 13.59 kilograms. He refused to cooperate with the investigation, telling police he had been told to wait for instructions on how to proceed.

The Taoyuan District Prosecutors Office had taken over the investigation to try and uncover the network behind the heroin smuggling suspect. The authorities were reportedly interested in finding out whether the recruitment of former migrant workers to bring drugs into Taiwan is a new tactic or just an isolated incident.