Taiwan: Cocaine ship not ours
Taiwan’s de facto embassy in the Philippines has denied that the 25 kilos of cocaine worth P125 million off Sorsogon last Jan. 3 had come from Taiwan nor had been transported by a Taiwanese vessel.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (Teco) also refuted a news report that said a crew member of the sunken ship had told the police that they were transporting the illegal drugs.
A plastic container filled with packs of cocaine was reportedly found by fishermen off the port town of Matnog last Jan. 3.
Salvage or refloat
Authorities said they would salvage or refloat the ship, MV Jin Ming No. 16, that sank off Pambujan, Northern Samar, on Jan. 2 at the height of Tropical Storm “Agaton,” to see whether the cocaine had come from that ship.
The vessel’s nine crew members — six Chinese, two Hong Kong nationals and a Taiwanese — were rescued and are in police custody.
“Teco wishes to reiterate that the cocaine did not come from Taiwan and the ship is not a Taiwanese ship,” Teco said in a statement on Monday.
It said the ship captain, a Chinese national, had shown fake papers to pass the ship off as Taiwan-registered.
According to Teco, the cargo ship had been sold to the Togolese Republic in 2000.
“Based on the Philippine authorities’ investigation of the ship’s documents, albeit expired, the record confirms that the vessel’s nationality is Togolese, not Taiwan,” Teco said.
It added that the ship’s data and accounts of the crew indicated that the ship traveled from Hainan province in China on its way to Chile.
Last September, Teco also insisted in a statement that Taiwan had “never” been the source of illegal drugs in the Philippines.
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