OPINION: Cigarette Smuggling Scandal Reveals Problems in Taiwan’s Bureaucracy, Not Politics

While the media and politicians attack the Tsai administration for the cigarette smuggling scandal, it is best to remember that the problem lies within Taiwan’s deep-rooted bureaucracy.

The News Lens
Date: 2019/07/25
By: Milo Hsieh

Photo Credit: CNA

On July 22, New Power Party (NPP) Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) stood up against the National Security Bureau (NSB), one of Taiwan’s most powerful intelligence agencies.

During a press conference, Huang alleged collusion between the NSB and China Airlines and asked, “How is it possible for that many cigarettes to be purchased legally when one could not even see cigarettes on China Airlines’ preflight duty-free website?”

Having conducted the investigation himself and tipped off several law enforcement officials, Huang revealed an attempt by NSB members to smuggle over NT$6 million (US$200,000) worth of cigarettes into Taiwan.

According to Taipei Times, NSB official Wu Tsung-hsien (吳宗憲) ordered 9,200 cartons of cigarettes via China Airlines, then hid them in the airline’s duty-free storage at Taoyuan International Airport. Returning from a recent state trip to the Caribbean with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Wu attempted to abuse his security clearance to bypass Taiwanese customs but was arrested at the airport.    [FULL  STORY]

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