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Kaohsiung District Prosecutors commanded the investigation to crack down on a drug trafficking case involving the yacht "Water Star 1" and confiscated 842.2 kilograms of Category III drug Ketamine, arresting and charging four individuals.

  • Publication Date:
  • Last updated:2023-03-31
  • View count:180

Kaohsiung District Prosecutors commanded the investigation to crack down on a drug trafficking case involving the yacht "Water Star 1" and confiscated  842.2 kilograms of Category III drug Ketamine, arresting and charging four individuals.

 

The head prosecutor of the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors' Office Narcotics Control Division, Li Yi-Zeng, and Prosecutor Wang Jian-Zhong commanded a special task force composed of the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau's Southern Mobile Unit, the 5th Coast Guard Squadron of Fleet Branch under the Ocean Affairs Council -Costal Guard Administration, Executive Yuan, and Lingya, Gushan Branch of the Kaohsiung City Police Department to investigate the transportation of drugs on the yacht "Water Star 1" to the waters off Kaohsiung. A total of 842.2 kilograms of Category III drug Ketamine was seized, and Shen, the cargo handler, as well as the captain, Lu, and crew members, Guo and Zhou (the captain and crew are all Chinese nationals) were arrested and detained.

 

 

After interrogating the suspects, the prosecutors requested incommunicado detention which was approved by the court. The investigation ended on February 14, 2023. All suspects were charged with violating Article 4, Paragraph 3 of the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act, Article 2, Paragraph 2, and Paragraph 1 of the Smuggling Penalty Act for transporting Category III drugs and attempting to import controlled articles without authorization

 

According to the investigation, Shen was responsible for the cross-border drug trafficking group's delivery work in this case. He first boarded the "Water Star 1," a Republic of China registered yacht, at sea off Pingtung. He then sailed to Dongyin Island offshore to meet Lu, Guo, and Zhou, who had traveled from Fujian Province, China, to that location. He instructed them to drive the yacht to Thailand, Cambodia, and other places for repairs until November 18, 2022, when they sailed to the waters near the Gulf of Thailand and picked up 38 packs of Ketamine before returning to the sea area near Taiwan. They intended to transport the drugs into Taiwan for sale during the night before the election when law enforcement personnel were deployed to prevent electoral malpractice. After receiving intelligence on the cross-border drug transportation from the Southern Mobile Unit, the prosecutor's office immediately formed a special task force to investigate the case. On November 25, 2022, at around 5:20 p.m., the Coast Guard's anti-smuggling vessel discovered the "Water Star 1" towing a white canvas bag on a life raft near 20 nautical miles west of Qieding, Kaohsiung. The Coast Guard attempted to board and inspect the yacht, but the suspects directly cut the towing rope with a cleaver, accelerated the boat, and zigzagged on the sea. They were eventually restrained and taken back for inspection, with the authorities confiscating the aforementioned drugs, life raft, satellite phone, five mobile phones, and the yacht "Water Star 1."

 

After confiscating the yacht "Water Star 1" as a criminal tool in this case, the prosecutor in charge considered that if the vessel was not operated normally due to long-term parking, there might be a risk of damage or deterioration, which could reduce the value of the boat.

To maintain the value of the confiscated property and protect the interests of the national treasury, the auction process was initiated during the investigation process. Upon the completion of the investigation, the prosecutor's office also applied to the court by the law to continue the process of selling the confiscated property.

 

This office reiterates its commitment to uphold the Ministry of Justice's "zero tolerance for drugs" policy and, guided by the Executive Yuan's "New Generation Anti-Drug Strategy 2.0," will continue to work closely with the various drug enforcement systems, including the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau, police, and coast guard. By working together with a common goal, we will jointly block drugs from entering the country, cut off any illegal channels for drug users to obtain drugs, and build a drug-free, happy, and safe society.

 

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