CIB busts up criminal ring for selling illegal weight-loss drug

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) busted a criminal ring based in Taiwan for allegedly selling coffee mixed with medication online, with the product containing a prohibited weight-loss drug, the CIB said yesterday. The bureau said that in August 2012 the Telecommunication Police Corps (電信警察隊), a unit that enforces laws concerning radio and telecommunications, discovered a website that sold instant coffee powder. The website, the CIB said, claimed that drinking a particular type of coffee drink will help individuals lose weight. The CIB purchased a box of the coffee, costing NT$1,499, from the website and sent the coffee to the Department of Health Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to examine its ingredients. The FDA discovered that N-Didesmethylsibutramine — a banned medical ingredient — was mixed in with the coffee, the CIB said. After four months of collecting evidence, the CIB arrested three suspects in New Taipei, Tainan, Kaohsiung and Pingtung City.

The CIB said the suspects allegedly breached the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act by selling medication without confirming the product’s ingredients and source, and without approval from authorities. The CIB said that a Taiwanese suspect surnamed Chang, who lives in mainland China, allegedly sourced the products and sent them to the three suspects to be sold. The CIB arrested Chang at Kaohsiung International Airport at the end of February, the CIB said, adding that Chang’s case was later transferred to the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office. Chang was caught on arrival from China.