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Police seize guns in smuggling bust

Police seize guns in smuggling bust

Police on confiscated more than 100 guns and ammunition from an alleged firearms smuggling ring worth an estimated NT$40 million (US$1.35 million) on the black market, the Criminal Investigation Bureau said yesterday.

The 109 guns and 12,378 bullets had been transported from Hong Kong to Taiwan by sea in a shipping container, bureau officials told a news conference.

Six suspects were arrested, including a 24-year-old man surnamed Chen (陳), they said.

When customs officers inspected shipping containers at the Port of Keelung on April 29, they suspected that a container from Hong Kong was carrying contraband items, bureau Deputy Director Liao Tsung-shan (廖宗山) said.

The officers immediately reported their suspicions to the police, Liao said, adding that the bureau then formed a task force to investigate.

The task force discovered that the items in the container were on Friday sent to a warehouse in New Taipei City’s Sansia District (三峽) and raided the warehouse, seizing a variety of firearms and arresting the six people, he said.

Included in the seizure were three powerful US-made Bushmaster rifles that are able to fire 700 to 900 shots a minute and can hit targets up to 1km away, local media reported.

Chen said he was told by his employer to move two large molding machines into the warehouse and had no idea that there were weapons inside them, police said, adding that he was expecting to be paid more than NT$100,000 for doing so.

The other five people arrested said they were only in the warehouse to help move the machinery.

Police said they believe Chen is not the mastermind of the smuggling operation, adding that they would continue their investigation to find out who is responsible.