Police investigate Taiwanese men linked to record 1.1 ton drug haul

By Quoc Thang   April 20, 2019 | 06:20 am PT
Police investigate Taiwanese men linked to record 1.1 ton drug haul
Part of the 1.1 tons of meth seized by Ho Chi Minh City police on Friday. Photo courtesy of the city's police.
HCMC police are probing two Taiwanese men connected to the recent seizure of 1.1 tons of meth, cementing concerns of the city as a drug transit hub.

Yeh Ching Wei, 33, Chiang Wei, 31 and one Vietnamese man, Bui Nguyen Huy Vu, 38 are being probed after traffic police detected two trucks and a car parked in wrong places on cameras on Friday. Suspicious that something illegal was afoot, police decided to check them.

As the police arrived, one of the trucks and the car sped away on Vo Van Kiet Boulevard in District 1.

The police gave chase and stopped them.

They found that the truck, registered in Dong Nai Province, was carrying many carton boxes with cabinet loudspeakers that weighed much heavier than usual.

The owners of the cartons, the two Taiwanese men, failed to show proper papers and were arrested.

As they investigated the case further, police searched several suspected locations which they did not reveal specifically, and found more carton boxes of the same type with more loudspeakers the next day.

Inside the loudspeakers, including those seized on the previous day, police discovered more than 600 kilos of methamphetamine contained in tea bags.

As they kept tracking down the ring, police found out that a city-based transport firm, named Ngoc Van, was hired by a company in Thailand to transfer 60 loudspeakers to a hotel in Dong Nai.

Ngoc Van company was also ordered to send another package with five loudspeakers to the house of Bui Nguyen Huy Vu in HCMC’s Phu Nhuan District.

As they searched the warehouse of Ngoc Van, police found 38 loudspeakers containing nearly 500 kilos of meth. In all, around 1.1 tons of meth were seized, making it the largest drug haul ever in HCMC and one of the largest in the country in recent years.

Investigators now suspect that the meth might have come from the same source as the meth found in 23 bags dumped on the side of a road in the central Nghe An Province on April 17. Earlier reports said the Nghe An seizure found a ton of meth but later count by the police said the amount was 700 kilograms.

This latest drug seizure has added evidence to speculation that HCMC has become a drug transit hub.

Vietnam’s biggest city made three massive drug seizures in the last two weeks of March. In all cases the drugs originated from the Golden Triangle, and in two of them, the drugs were on the way to Taiwan and the Philippines.

On March 20, police seized 300 kilos of meth that were on the way to Taiwan. Police said the ring, led by a Chinese man, operated nationwide and was linked to two seizures of around 300 kilos each in central Vietnam last October and February. They also discovered that the gang transported meth to the Philippines.

On March 22, Vietnamese customs and the Philippine police seized 270 kilos of meth the gang had transported to the Philippines by sea.

Five days later, police arrested two Taiwanese men and a Vietnamese driver who were transporting more than 300 kilos of heroin on the city’s outskirts.

Top police officers have since warned that HCMC has become a transit point for drug trafficking, due to its logistics infrastructure.

The repeated haul of huge amounts of drugs is happening despite Vietnam having some of the world’s toughest drug laws. Those convicted of possessing or smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or cocaine or more than 2.5 kg of methamphetamine could face the death penalty.

The production or sale of 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other illegal narcotics is also punishable by death.

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