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Taiwan seeks Ottawa’s aid in stopping drug smuggling from Canada

Taiwan seeks Ottawa’s aid in stopping drug smuggling from Canada


TAIPEI: A Taiwanese prosecutor is calling on Ottawa to provide better co-operation and intelligence to help stop the flow of Canadian marijuana, after two massive busts in the Asian country earlier this year.

More than 70 kilograms of marijuana shipped from Vancouver were seized in April and June by Taiwanese customs at the Port of Keelung. Seven Taiwanese were charged in the busts. However, the official says Taiwan has had no luck in getting information about the Canadian end of the situation.

Xiaoya Zhong, chief prosecutor at Keelung District Prosecutors Office, said the two agencies in Taiwan that gather and share intelligence with other countries – Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau and Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau – don’t have a direct point of contact with Canada for drug enforcement. Instead, Taiwan must rely on RCMP liaison officers in Hong Kong, she said.

“Having a contact point would be much more convenient,” said Ms. Zhong, who added that much of the marijuana coming into Taiwan originates in either the United States or Canada.

Ms. Zhong said without intelligence sharing, Taiwan is not able to provide more information for Canada to investigate further on its end. Taiwan’s complaint highlights a difficult balancing act for Canada. For decades, China has attempted to bar official contact between Ottawa and Taipei because China considers Taiwan a renegade province. More recently, the Trudeau government has indicated a wish for freer trade with China.

When asked about Taiwan’s complaint about lack of information sharing, Global Affairs Canada referred questions to the RCMP. The RCMP declined to answer directly about how it shares intelligence with Taiwan, but said in an e-mail that it “maintains good working relationships with all international partners, including the Taiwanese.”

Charles Burton, an associate professor of political science at Brock University and a former counsellor at the Canadian embassy in Beijing, said Canada has no diplomatic relations with Taiwan, so there is no RCMP liaison office in Taipei.