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September 27, 2017

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Growing number of Taiwan nationals busted in Australia for drugs: MOFA

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday called on Taiwanese nationals to follow local laws when traveling in Australia as more and more Taiwan nationals are being arrested in the country over drug-smuggling charges.

Bob Chen (陳龍錦), deputy director-general of MOFA's Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said at a news briefing in Taipei yesterday that a total of 50 R.O.C. nationals were arrested in Australia between Jan. 2009 and July. 2014 due to their suspected involvement in drug-smuggling in the country.

Only four Taiwanese were arrested in Australia under such charges in 2009. However, a total of 24 nationals have been arrested by Australian police so far this year under drug-trafficking allegations, Chen noted.

Statistics show that a steadily rising number of Taiwanese have been found violating laws and regulations in Australia.

He pointed out that drug-smuggling is a serious violation of the law in Australia, as it is in Taiwan. Most of those convicted face 6 to 8 years in prison, while in one case a Taiwan national faces a 13-year-prison term.

Most of the Taiwanese suspects arrested on drugs charges are aged between 25 and 40. The youngest suspect was 21, while the oldest was 72, he noted.

Chen noted that Taiwan's representative office in Sydney has been doing its best to safeguard the legal rights of Taiwan nationals in the country.

He reminded Taiwanese tourists not to take forbidden items into Australia and to follow local laws when traveling overseas.

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