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MOFA warns travelers to Southeast Asia of drug-trafficking pitfalls

MOFA warns travelers to Southeast Asia of drug-trafficking pitfalls

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) urged Taiwanese travelers Tuesday to take the necessary precautions to avoid becoming embroiled in drug-trafficking, a serious crime in many popular Southeast Asian destinations.
Victor Yu, director-general of MOFA's East Asian and Pacific Affairs, issued the warning at a press conference after a report from the Indonesian government indicated 23 individuals -- 13 of them Taiwanese nationals -- were caught with drugs at the country's gateways in the past eight months.
Some of the Taiwanese nationals had been severely punished, Yu said, while others are still in the process of trials.
In addition, over 110 Taiwanese nationals are still serving sentences for drug-trafficking and other drug-related crimes in Thailand, Yu said.
Although the ministry’s representative office in Bangkok has managed over the past two years to help some Taiwanese convicts be released early or have their sentences reduced, Yu said differences between Taiwan's judicial systems and those in Southeast Asian limit the potential effectiveness of any government assistance efforts.
To avoid being unwittingly implicated in a drug-trafficking case, Yu suggested that local travelers avoid carrying packages for strangers and pack their own bags when traveling to countries in which drug-trafficking is widespread.