Philippine police early yesterday arrested four people, including three Taiwanese, on suspicion of smuggling drugs and ingredients, in a joint effort with Taiwanese authorities.
Based on information provided by the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau, a Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-affiliated team under the Philippine National Police inspected a fishing boat in a village in Infanta, Quezon Province, about 138km east of Manila, and found several bags of chemicals used in the production of amphetamines, the police said.
Three men and a woman were arrested and drug enforcement authorities also recovered amphetamines, they said.
Authorities from the two nations had monitored the suspected smuggling operation for several months before bureau liaison officers in the Philippines joined the effort, they added.
Initial information showed that two of the three Taiwanese suspects are from Pingtung County, while the woman is a Philippine national, the police said.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly accused the Taiwan-based Bamboo Union gang of being a major source of illegal drugs smuggled into the Philippines.
In the most recent instance, Duterte last week told a news conference that the Bamboo Union was the primary supplier of illegal drugs in the Philippines.
However, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines has issued several statements saying that “Taiwan has never been a source of illegal drugs entering the Philippines. Rather, Taiwan is the best partner for the Philippines to jointly combat against drug smuggling.”