TAIPEI: Nearly half a tonne of heroin from Southeast Asia was seized in Taiwan moments after a drug smuggling gang using diving equipment brought the shipment to shore, officials announced Wednesday.
Pingtung District Prosecutors Office, in Taiwan's south, said law enforcement officials captured 470 kilogrammes of the drug, wrapped into 1,240 bricks, as it was brought to shore in the early hours of Wednesday last week.
It is the island's second-largest recorded heroin seizure with a street value of TW$6 billion ($195 million).
Prosecutors said the shipment was brought over from Southeast Asia on fishing vessels, transferred to smaller dinghies and then brought in by smugglers with wetsuits and flippers.
The statement did not say which country the heroin came from but Myanmar is by far Southeast Asia's largest manufacturer of the drug.
Ten people, including two minors, were arrested in the operation.
Commenting on the seizure, Premier William Lai said crime syndicates were always looking for new ways to avoid detection and that drug gangs were a "security problem" for the island.
"Drugs have adversely affect our citizen's desire for a safe society," he added.
Taiwan's largest heroin seizure was recorded in May 2017 when 693 kilogrammes were discovered on a fishing boat off the coast of southern Taiwan.
That boat's captain and four crew members were arrested.