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Amphetamine factories operated by Ph.D. grad uncovered in Hsinchu

Amphetamine-making factories, led by a chemical engineering graduate from National Tsing Hua University, were uncovered in Hsinchu, the Ministry of Justice's (MOJ) Tainan investigation bureau (調查局台南市調查處) announced yesterday.

Three amphetamine-making factories were discovered in remote areas of Xiangshan District and Hukou Township, both in Hsinchu. Three people were arrested and materials for the making of amphetamine, weighing almost 200 kilograms, were found.

According to the investigation bureau, amphetamine is frequently made out of ephedrine and pseudo-ephedrine. Criminals usually extract ephedrine from cold medicines and then refine it. Investigators said, however, that in this case the amphetamine-making method, which was directed by a male chemical engineering graduate with a Ph.D. from National Tsing Hua University, was unique.

Though investigators could not confirm how this amphetamine was produced, they could conclude, judging by the finished amphetamine products, that the factories were able to produce a large amount of the drug. The investigation bureau speculated that this type of amphetamine had probably not yet been sold on the market. The investigation is ongoing.

National Tsing Hua University said yesterday that they were shocked by the news. The chemical engineering researcher earned his Ph.D. in 1992. The university added that they were disappointed by his behavior and hoped he would serve as a warning to other students.

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This picture shows narcotics and drug-making equipment in Hsinchu (新竹), yesterday. The lead suspect, surnamed Wu, is a Ph.D. graduate of chemical engineering at National Tsing Hua University (清華大學). Wu's narcotic-production methods were unorthodox, investigators said, adding that they would collaborate with authorities from different counties and cities to uncover more details.(CNA)

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