Taiwanese drug trafficker arrested in Philippines

Manila, A 71-year-old Taiwanese man suspected of trafficking drugs was arrested near Manila on Monday through the cooperation of law enforcement agencies in Taiwan and the Philippines.

The Philippines Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said in a report released on Tuesday that the Taiwanese man surnamed Chang (?) was captured in a shopping mall in Muntinlupa, about 22 kilometers south of Manila.

PEDA agents and Philippine police received a tip on Chang's whereabouts and made contact with him by pretending they wanted to buy drugs from him, the report said.

At around 10:30 a.m. Monday, the agents captured Chang at the shopping mall while they were trying to buy drugs from him and also seized about 3 kilograms of amphetamines on his person worth an estimated 20.40 million Philippine pesos (US$376,175).

After his arrest, Chang, who has been on a wanted list issued by Taiwan, was questioned overnight by police with the assistance of liaison officers from the Investigation Bureau of Taiwan's Ministry of Justice (MOJ).

The questioning found Chang's household to be registered in New Taipei and that he traveled between Taiwan and the Philippines frequently. He also said the drugs seized from him by police were supplied by a Chinese national, according to the PDEA report.

The report added that Chang has a residence permit issued by the Philippines, and under Philippine law anyone found in possession of 50 grams or more of amphetamines can face a life sentence if convicted.

Chang was imprisoned in Taiwan in 1994 for his involvement in drug trafficking and was charged with drug trafficking again in 2015.

In January 2018, the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office issued a warrant for Chang after he fled to the Malate district of Manila.

Including Chang's capture, the Philippine drug enforcement authorities have caught five drug trafficking suspects from Taiwan since August.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly claimed Taiwan is a source of illicit drugs in his country, but Taiwan's representative office has rejected the claim, saying that Taipei is a partner in drug crackdowns rather than a supplier of drugs to Manila.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel