Two Taiwanese arrested in Australia for drug trafficking

By Joseph Yeh, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Two Taiwanese were recently arrested by Australian police on narcotics trafficking charges, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) confirmed yesterday. Taiwan’s representative office in Sydney has visited the two Taiwanese who are currently in detention, MOFA deputy spokesman Calvin Ho (何震寰) said yesterday. MOFA will offer all necessary assistance to the two nationals, he noted. The deputy spokesman’s comment confirmed a statement released by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) earlier this week. According to the AFP statement, two Taiwanese appeared in a Sydney court on March 14 on charges of importing approximately 4 kilograms of methamphetamine into Australia. The pair was arrested upon their arrival at Sydney Airport on March 10, the statement said. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Sydney Gateway International Mail Facility examined two consignments belonging to the two, who had arrived from Hong Kong. The consignments each consisted of 11 boxes containing approximately 40 small handbags. The matter was later referred to the AFP for further investigation.

The maximum penalty for this offense is life imprisonment and/or an AU$825,000 fine (NT$24.7 million), the AFP said. Asked to comment on the case, James Chou (周穎華), deputy head of MOFA’s Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, told reporters yesterday that the two Taiwanese nationals are in their 40s and both have criminal records.