Taiwan seeking aid over narcotics

TAIWANESE police want to set up an information-sharing system with Hong Kong to help tackle the increase in drug smuggling from the territory.

There has been little contact between Hong Kong police and Taiwan's Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), but BCI detective Tsai Ho-shui said this was set to change.

''We can identify a clear trend of Hong Kong drug gangs stepping up smuggling into Taiwan,'' said Mr Tsai, who is heading the investigation into one of two drug smuggling cases involving Hong Kong citizens arrested last Saturday.

He said BCI director Lu Yu-chun might visit Hong Kong to meet local police and try to establish a Hong Kong-Taiwan triad data exchange.

If the Hong Kong Government declined to engage in direct contact with Taiwan police officials on this issue, Mr Tsai said, Taiwan might seek Interpol's help to arrange such an exchange.

He said the street price of heroin in Taipei had risen 20 per cent in the past six months and could be pushed higher by Saturday's arrests.

BCI detectives arrested three Hong Kong citizens on Saturday and confiscated 45 kilograms of heroin.

On the same day, agents from the Ministry of Justice's Investigation Bureau detained five Hong Kong citizens, including two former Hong Kong police, and confiscated 4.1 kg of heroin.