Taipei, The Taiwan High Prosecutors Office warned Tuesday of the growing drug problem in Taiwan, noting that the class 2 drug amphetamine has become the most used illegal drug in the country.
Over the past three years, the number of individuals arrested for ketamine use in Taiwan has dropped, but the number of arrests for amphetamine use has increased, prosecutor Wang Jeh-tuo said at a news conference held by the office to highlight the severity of the problem nationwide.
In 2016, 3,681 people were detained and investigated for manufacturing, transporting and selling second-grade drugs in Taiwan, Wang said. In 2018, that number rose to 5,399, with 95 percent committing amphetamine related violations, he noted.
At the same time, the number of individuals arrested for class 2 drug offenses increased from 24,637 in 2014 to 37,611 in 2017, Wang said. Despite falling to 35,304 in 2018, 95 percent of cases were related to the taking of amphetamine, he said.
According to Wang, amphetamine, ketamine and heroin pose the biggest threat in Taiwan. In response, the high prosecutors office launched a campaign July 22 to target these narcotics in the summer break, he explained.
Over the past three years, law enforcement authorities have seized an average 6,000 kilograms of illegal drugs per year, Wang said. However, 3,492 kg of narcotics were confiscated in the first five months of this year, he pointed out.
Also during the press conference, Wang said that more foreign nationals, mainly migrant workers, have become involved in drug-related crimes in Taiwan.
Noting that some were arrested for smuggling illegal drugs into Taiwan or taking deliveries of medicines containing banned substances mailed from their home countries, Wang urged foreign nationals residing in Taiwan not to engage in such illegal activities.
In 2012, 41 foreign nationals were detained for manufacturing, selling or transporting illicit drugs in Taiwan, he said.
That number grew to 179 and 189 in 2017 and 2018, respectively, and during the first five months of this year, 82 foreign nationals were arrested for violations related to illicit drugs, mainly amphetamine or marijuana, Wang said.
In 2012, 288 foreigners were detained for the use of class 1 or class 2 drugs, with the number rising to 891 in 2017, he reported. During the first five months of the year, 445 were arrested for taking such drugs, he added.
From 2014 to May 2019, 1,705 people from Thailand and 1,501 from Vietnam were detained for drug use, followed by 634 from Indonesia, 221 from the Philippines, 213 from China, and 184 from the United States, according to a statement provided by the prosecutors office.
During the same period, 149 from Malaysia, 77 from Myanmar, 69 from Hong Kong and 41 from Japan were also arrested for drug use in Taiwan, the statement showed.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel