Taipei, Nov. 9 (CNA) Opposition Kuomintang (KMT) presidential candidate Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) pledged Thursday to create an enforcement administration to crack down on drug-related offenses.
Hou unveiled his policy proposals to combat narcotics at a campaign event in Changhua County.
Citing recent high-profile incidents of influencers caught using cannabis, Hou said there was an urgent need to curb the circulation of illegal drugs, but that the task is currently split between the Investigation Bureau, the National Policy Agency and the Coast Guard Administration, which is hampering the effectiveness of the effort.
If elected, he said, he would follow the US and establish a drug enforcement administration that would oversee efforts to combat narcotics.
The agency would aim to tackle the drug problem from its roots, and team up with central and local education authorities to ensure narcotics are beyond the reach of students, he said.
Regarding the trend of drug dealing being tied up in organized crime, Hou said he would clamp down on criminal gangs while stepping up efforts to tackle drug-related offenses, with the aim of breaking supply chains.
The New Taipei mayor added that current punishments measured out for the manufacturing, selling and trafficking of narcotics are too lenient and that he believes offenders need to be severely punished in order to act as a deterrent.
Hou added that Taiwan should work more closely with international policing partners to keep drug smuggling into the country at bay.
Regarding how to detect narcotics disguised as candies or instant coffee packets, Hou stressed the crucial role drug testing equipment plays and pledged to provide funding for law enforcement agencies to upgrade any outdated tools.
(By Wu Che-hao and Sean Lin)