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3 Taiwanese arrested in South Korea for drug smuggling

3 Taiwanese arrested in South Korea for drug smuggling

Seoul: South Korean authorities have arrested six members of a drug trafficking syndicate, including three Taiwanese, in connection with smuggling 112 kilograms of methamphetamine into the country, a source from Taiwan’s representative office in Seoul said Monday.

The case was cracked through the joint efforts of South Korean police, intelligence and customs authorities and Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau, according to the source.

The other three arrested included Japanese and South Koreans, according to a report by South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.

The amount was the largest seizure of the drug ever in South Korea. The drugs had an estimated street value of 370 billion won (US$326.56 million), according to the report.

Police in Seoul said that a Taiwanese national took delivery of a screw-making machine from Thailand at a port in the southeastern city of Busan. The machine contained 112 bags each packed with 1 kg of methamphetamine, according to the report.

The Taiwanese man, along with a Taiwanese accomplice, transported the machine to a warehouse in the city of Hwaseong near Seoul, where they retrieved the drugs.

They then transported 22 kg of the methamphetamine between July 29 and Aug. 18 to a Japanese dealer who remained at large.

After learning that the South Korean authorities were moving to bust the syndicate, one of the Taiwanese attempted to leave the country Aug. 26. He was arrested at Incheon airport, west of Seoul. The remaining 90 kilograms of the drug were confiscated, the report said.

Police, who are chasing four other suspects, believe the smuggling involved Taiwan’s Bamboo Union Gang and the Japanese Inagawa-kai crime syndicate, according to the report.