2 Taiwanese men arrested in Thailand over drug-smuggling

Two Taiwanese citizens were recently arrested by Thailand authorities over drug-smuggling charges, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday.

The suspects were arrested on Wednesday as they were about to leave Thailand from an international airport, deputy MOFA spokesman Andrew Lee told local media yesterday.

The country's Taiwan representative office was informed of the incident by Thai police authorities right after the arrests were made.

It is now assisting in the investigations into the alleged drug-trafficking accusation, Lee said.

Lee made the comments after being asked to confirm foreign media reports of the arrests.

According to a Bangkok Post report, the two men, identified as Liao Ping-hsiang, 22, and Huang Jyun-Jie, 21, were arrested at Suvarnabhumi International Airport while attempting to smuggle 12 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine to New Zealand.

They were preparing to leave Thailand for Auckland, New Zealand, the report quoted police sources as saying.

Commenting on the news, Lee yesterday said the two are currently been detained by Narcotics Suppression Division authorities.

Taiwanese diplomats in Thailand will file for applications to visit the men, he noted.

Taiwanese officials will also prepare a list of lawyers the suspects could hire in preparation for their legal needs.

The Taiwan representative office will make sure the pair will face a fair trial, he said.

Back in Taiwan, Lee noted that the ministry has contacted the families of the two suspects and will help them visit the men who are detained in Thailand should they wish to do so.

Meanwhile, Lee reminded the public not to carry forbidden items and to follow local laws when traveling overseas.

Drug trafficking is a very serious offence in Thailand and offenders may face the death penalty, Lee said.

According to MOFA, currently a total of 156 Taiwanese nationals are incarcerated in Thailand, most of them for drug-smuggling convictions.