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Teco: Container with illegal drugs not from Taiwan.

THE Taiwan Economic Cooperation Office (Teco) on January 8 denied that the cocaine found in a floating container in the Visayas came from a Taiwanese ship.

Teco representative Gary Song-Huann Lin confirmed that Taiwan does not grow coca plants, the main source of cocaine.

A town fisherman in Matnog, Sorsogon, found a container floating on the sea on January 3 and reported it to local authorities. Drug-enforcement agents who opened it discovered cocaine.

A Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency official said the source of the cocaine might be a Taiwan-flagged cargo vessel that was hit by huge waves. However, Lin explained that the Jin Ming No. 16ship, which carried the container, is not registered in Taiwan.

'The said ship was sold in 2000 to Togo, an African country,' Lin pointed out, and added the documents found on the ship were forged and faked by its captain.

The vessel used to be registered in Taiwan until it was sold to Togo. It capsized near Samar during the onslaught of Tropical Depression Agaton.

Lin added the so-called documents submitted to the Philippine authorities by the captain of the ship are 'actually faked and forged by the captain.'

The cocaine, valued at P120 million, was packed into a container that drifted to shore in Sorsogon last week and, initially, investigators said it had come from a Taiwan-registered vessel that made an emergency docking in Northern Samar on January 2.

Lin said it was questionable that the container, when found, was 100 kilometers away from the ship.

However, based on the interview by Philippine authorities, he explained that 'the route of the ship did not come from Taiwan but from Hainan province, which is part of mainland China.'

Apparently, the ship was en route to Chile when it encountered Agaton and had to seek shelter in Samar due to leaks.

'Based on the Philippine authorities' investigation of the ship's documents-albeit expired-the record confirms that the vessel's nationality is Togolese, not Taiwanese,' the Teco representative emphasized.

Likewise, he said that even the report of a crew member who admitted the 24 kilos of cocaine came from their ship is false.

'The cocaine did not come from Taiwan and the ship is not a Taiwanese ship,' Lin insisted, adding Taiwan has been a cooperative partner of Philippine law enforcement agencies to combat illegal drug trafficking.

He said that Taiwan has been a part of the international community combatting drug trafficking and has received numerous awards for their participation.

'Over the years, we were responsible for confiscating more than 1,000 kilos of shabu, more than 8,000 kilos of semi-finished shabu products, destroyed three shabu laboratories, one distribution station and six shipments found in sea containers,' Lin concluded.

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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9TAIW
Date:Jan 10, 2018
Words:524
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