Taiwan president’s security detail implicated in cigarette smuggling scandal

Taiwan cigarette smugglingAt least 70 members of Taiwan’s presidential security detail used the president’s official trips abroad to smuggle thousands of cigarettes into the country, it has been announced by Taiwan’s’s spy chief. According to news reports from Taiwan, the smuggling scandal was uncovered last month, when the country’s President, Tsai Ing-wen, concluded an official tour of several Caribbean nations. Taiwanese customs officers stopped a security agent in President Tsai’s entourage, who allegedly tried to bring nearly 10,000 cartons of duty-free cigarettes into the country. The agent had ordered the cigarettes online prior to the presidential trip. He then concealed the cartons in an airport warehouse and planned to bring them into the country by disguising them as supplies used by President Tsai’s motorcade.

The customs officials contacted China Airlines, the national carrier of Taiwan, and requested information on the number of duty-free cigarette cartons that had been brought onboard by members of the president’s entourage during her foreign trips. The data revealed that thousands of cartons had been transported during presidential trips, which pointed to an organized smuggling operation by dozens of members of Tsai’s entourage. A subsequent investigation by the National Security Bureau (NSB), Taiwan’s spy service, revealed that the smuggling network had begun operating during the presidency of Ma Ying-jeou, Tsai’s predecessor. The scandal prompted the resignation of the director of the NSB. On Friday, the NSB’s new Director, Chiu Kuo-cheng, gave a rare press conference in which he provided further details on the case. According to Chiu, 49 members of the presidential security detail, 25 NSB officers and two members of Taiwan’s Military Police, participated in the smuggling network. Most smuggled between 10 and 50 cartons of cigarettes per trip; but some smuggled over 1,000 cartons per trip.

Chiu said on Friday that two NSB officers had been placed under arrest for their participation in the smuggling ring, and further arrests were being planned. He warned those responsible that he had personally taken command of the NSB’s investigation, and that punishment would be “severe” for those found to have participated in the smuggling. Chiu added that a number of China Airlines officials were also implicated in the smuggling network and were being questioned. On Saturday, President Tsai said she had no knowledge that members of her own security detail were smuggling duty-free cigarettes into Taiwan.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 05 August 2019 | Permalink

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Taiwanese spy operation led to Chinese official’s dismissal, claims leaked cable

Jin Renqing

Jin Renqing

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS| intelNews.org |
The puzzling resignation of China’s minister of finance was caused by his sexual involvement with a Taiwanese spy, who extracted classified information from him, according to a leaked American diplomatic cable. At the time of his 2007 resignation, Jin Renqing, a Communist Party bureaucrat with over 40 years of financial affairs experience, was regarded as Asia’s preeminent finance technocrat. His rise to China’s most powerful financial post, in the early years of our century, coincided with the country’s meteoric economic rise. When he quietly stepped down, a brief press statement by the Chinese government said Jin had resigned for “personal reasons”. But according to a diplomatic cable authored in September 2007 by a US State Department diplomat, Jin’s resignation was in fact a summary dismissal, caused by his sexual involvement with a much younger woman, who is now believed to have worked for Taiwanese intelligence. The cable, which has been leaked by whistleblower website WikiLeaks, describes the alleged Taiwanese spy as a “promiscuous socialite” and a “social butterfly”, who had successive affairs with a host of senior Chinese officials. The list included the country’s former Minister for Agriculture, Du Qinglin and Chen Tonghai, Director of China’s powerful Petroleum and Chemical Corporation, also known as Sinopec. Read more of this post