Under the privilege, the diplomatic plane “does nothing”

“Xiaoying” President fights diplomacy, ‘The National Security Bureau took the opportunity to smuggle profit!” Huang Guochang broke the news that the “National Security Bureau” official used the special plane accompanying Tsai Ing-wen to carry 9800 cigarettes for smuggling, and the order amount was nearly 7 million Taiwan dollars. (about 1.55 million yuan), “distressed!”

Wu Zongxian, a special agent suspected of smuggling, has been arrested. China Airlines and Tsai Ing-wen, who are on the flight, have rushed to deal with it… But under the constant exposure and blame, the “special aircraft smuggling cigarettes” scandal has become increasingly fierce.

Diplomatic privilege into a smuggling umbrella? Special machine becomes a smuggling tool? Like the Tsai English team, it is quite a lot to borrow money from privilege.

3 years, 26415
Originally, Tsai Ing-wen was still proud of his own achievements. At 1:17 pm on July 22, she wrote in her face: “#The journey of free and democratic success has been successfully completed, I returned to Taiwan!” However, After a few minutes, she had to face the accusation of “visiting” and becoming a “smuggling trip.”

At 1:57 pm on the same day, Huang Guochang kicked off his accompanying secret service personnel suspected of smuggling scandals. Tsai Ing-wen quickly clarified the relationship: the relevant duty-free smoking products were purchased and shipped in Taiwan, and it was not related to his “visiting” trip; I have ordered the “National Security Bureau” Strictly and thoroughly investigated, the follow-up will cooperate with the judicial unit to handle the case.

Taiwanese media reported that in addition to returning 12 boxes of 600 cigarettes from overseas, the “National Security Bureau” Major Guardian Wu Zongxian booked 9,200 cigarettes through the China Airlines Duty Free System and stored at Taoyuan Airport before Tsai Ing-wen’s “visiting”. The bonded warehouse of Huacai Air Kitchen (with China Airlines Investment), and when the special plane landed at Taoyuan Airport, when the team entered the stage, the five containers were disguised as cargo unloaded on the special plane and mixed into the team in an attempt to use special courtesy.

Unexpectedly, the team was stopped by the Taiwan “investigation bureau” and was arrested. “People’s Daily” overseas edition reported that the next day after Tsai Ing-wen’s “visiting”, the Taiwan investigation department had received a secret report, and Wu Zongxian booked a huge amount of duty-free smoking products from China Airlines. According to the regulations, each passenger can only be tax-free with a cigarette.

When things came out, Tsai Ing-wen quickly broke his wrist: he approved the resignation of Peng Shengzhu, the director of the National Security Bureau, and transferred Zhang Jie, the chief of the presidential palace, to his current post.

However, things did not end there. On July 24, Huang Guochang pointed out that the five trucks carrying smuggled cigarettes were in the office of Tsai Ing-wen.

According to the “Lianhe Evening News” reported on the 25th, the prosecutor went to the investigation of the special duty quarters in the official residence of Tsai Ing-wen, and set the first case. On the same day, in the face of Huang Guochang’s constant questioning, China Airlines finally made a sound, and its chairman Xie Shiqian came forward to apologize and raised the number of cigarettes involved: he admitted that the total number of cigarettes sold reached 10009.

As things continue to ferment, China Airlines has become a party to the exposure, and it has also brought out more astounding insider cases of “smuggling of cigarettes” – the operation of using “diplomatic courtesy” has been carried out for a long time, according to the company’s statistics, since 2006 Year-to-date, the total sales of duty-free smoking products of 24 Taiwanese leaders’ special missions reached 41,904. Among them, the last visit of Ma Ying-jeou, the former leader, ordered a total of 3,700 tax-free cigarettes. In the three-year term of Tsai Ing-wen, the number of “smuggled cigarettes” reached 26,415, accounting for 63% of the sales of duty-free smoking products for special aircraft missions in the past 13 years.

“The visit has the convenience of visiting, and it is exempt from inspection when passing through the customs. There will be special passages and courtesy when customs clearance. These conditions are convenient for smuggling.” Taiwan’s current affairs commentator Tang Xianglong said.

Long queues outside the embassy buy illicit cigarettes
The use of diplomatic privilege to smuggle cigarettes and even to sell profits is no shortage of precedents in the international arena.

In August 2016, the Swiss “Sunday” was the first to reveal that two Iraqi officials based in Geneva ordered cigarettes from companies specializing in the delivery of duty-free goods to diplomats, embassies and international organizations in Germany and sold them on the black market in northwestern France. . In three years, they smuggled 600,000 packs of duty-free cigarettes and evaded taxes of 2.1 million euros.

The case can be traced back to 2012. Officials of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Geneva, who also enjoyed diplomatic privileges, reported to the Customs that an unknown person ordered cigarettes in his own name and the case surfaced. In addition to the Iraqi diplomats, the two perpetrators will order cigarettes in the name of diplomats from Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain. According to Swiss customs officials, “the perpetrators are not diplomats, but embassy employees” who forged a customs clearance for diplomatic personnel to provide tax-free privileges.

Diplomats around the world enjoy a range of privileges. Members of the diplomatic corps and members of international organizations enjoy tax-free privileges on certain commodities, such as tobacco, fuel, alcohol, etc., on their own terms or by embassy officials. However, these privileges will be abused and even the embassy will become an illegal trading place.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported in December 2014 that in three years, the Deputy Ambassador of the Gambian Embassy in the United Kingdom, Yusuha Bo and his colleagues ordered 29 tons of cigarettes, evading the payment of 4.8 million to the British government. Sterling VAT and consumption tax.

The World Wide Web reported that the gang had ordered so many orders that tobacco suppliers could not meet their needs. According to reports, they unscrupulously turned the embassy into a tobacco retail outlet, so that customers who came to buy cigarettes lined up outside the embassy.

Drug trafficking with the presidential plane
These are just the tip of the iceberg that uses the privilege of profit.

Not long ago, the “peak of the drug” in the drug-trafficking industry was exposed on the eve of the G20 summit in Osaka, causing the loss of Brazilian President Yasser Borsonaro, who claimed to vigorously crack down on drug-related crimes.

On June 25th, a Brazilian Air Force plane landed at Seville Airport, Spain. This is a spare plane for the Borsonaro meeting, with an advance support team.

According to the original plan, another special plane that Borsonaro took will also stop here and then fly to Japan. But then, the plan had a little deviation.

Rodriguez, the officer who had accompanied the president to attend the Osaka meeting, was arrested by the Spanish police.

Spain’s “National News” reported that from Rodriguez’s carry-on baggage, law enforcement officers found 37 bags of cocaine with a total weight of 39 kg.

“Obviously, given the amount of drugs, he didn’t just bring drugs at the corner and took them with him. So, he was a qualified drug lord at the time,” said Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Moran.

Foreign media analysis, may Rodriguez think that he is a member of the presidential delegation, will not be subject to any customs control, and therefore did not disguise or hide the drug.

According to the introduction of diplomatic privileges and immunities of the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, according to international practice, the personnel enjoying diplomatic privileges and immunities include heads of state, heads of government, government ministers, special envoys and members of delegations led by them. Envoys and all officials with diplomats and so on. The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations stipulates that diplomatic agents are not allowed to be inspected for personal baggage, but they can be inspected if there are serious grounds for presuming that they contain articles that are prohibited by import or export or that are subject to quarantine regulations. Drugs naturally cannot enter the country.

After Rodriguez was arrested, Borsonaro, who was very embarrassed, said that he really hoped that he would be arrested in a country where drug trafficking was sentenced to death. “We will not tolerate this kind of disrespect to the motherland!” he said angrily on Twitter – his special plane also diverted to Lisbon to refuel, and then flew to Osaka.

Smuggling live people
In fact, it is not the first time to use a diplomatic plane to transport drugs.

According to the description of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the diplomatic courier is a “special diplomat” responsible for ensuring the confidentiality and security of the diplomatic pouch in the process of transmission, and enjoying diplomatic immunity during the performance of official duties. What they are carrying, only the head of state, government officials and foreign ambassadors know that it may be a medal awarded by a national leader to a foreign citizen. It may be a kind of urgently needed medicine, or it may be filled with materials and equipment needed to build an embassy. container.

As a result, in a case jointly reported by Xinhuanet, Russia and Argentina, some people attempted to use the “diplomatic messenger” channel of the Russian Embassy in Argentina to air cocaine, and it was suspected of using the government plane to air.

The Independent said that even in accordance with the South American standards of drug crimes, this is also a blockbuster: 12 boxes of 389 kilograms, the “world’s purest” cocaine, organized criminal gangs, Russian embassies, “diplomatic messengers”, Government special plane, official trapping, GPS tracking…

This 14-month transnational trap began in December 2016.

The US Newsweek reported that the then Russian ambassador to Argentina, Victor Kronelli, and the Russian Federal Security Service found a person on a diplomatic plane smuggling cocaine to avoid entry and exit inspections. The official thought of a trapping plan to uncover the drug trafficking network.

In the building of the affiliated school of the Embassy, ​​they confiscated 360 bags of high-purity cocaine in a 12-box – worth more than $60 million – and then replaced the cocaine with flour and installed a tracking device in the box.

A year later, these boxes came to Moscow. Argentina’s then Minister of Security, Patricia Blyrich, said the box was “shipped as a diplomatic baggage by Russian government aircraft” and she also released a video showing that the box was loaded onto a plane to Moscow.

Subsequently, the drug dealers who provided drugs for the embassy personnel, the logistics personnel of the drug dealers who were responsible for packing the drugs on the diplomatic plane, the former Russian embassy staff, and the person responsible for picking up the goods from the diplomatic plane were all arrested. However, according to the BBC report, later, the Russian side denied that the goods were transported by diplomatic channels.

If a country checks the items carried by foreign diplomats or diplomatic bags, but does not find out why it is, it is easy to become an international dispute. Therefore, countries are very cautious about such parcels. This also allows many people to choose this channel to take advantage of this opportunity.

“Phoenix Weekly” has reported that the British Customs has disclosed the mysterious diplomatic pouch to the media. “Small to pushpins, big to live, diplomatic pouches can hold the whole world.”

“Connected” magazine reported in 2015 that Ecuadorian diplomats had thought about putting Julian Assange, who was taking refuge in his embassy, ​​in a diplomatic bag to help him escape when he was brainstorming. However, Assange is obviously not a legitimate diplomacy. Mail or official supplies, once found, will still be arrested.

This way is really awkward. In 1984, Umaru Dike, a former senior government official in Nigeria who was exiled in the UK, was almost smuggled back to China for trial in this way.

The Independent reported that Nigerian intelligence personnel, with the help of Israeli intelligence personnel, kidnapped Deco in London and stunned it by injecting drugs, and then loaded him into a large wooden box, marked with a “diplomatic pouch”, ready to be sent to Nigeria. . What the kidnappers didn’t know was that Dick’s secretary saw the scene he was taken away and reported to the police. This also alarmed the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

So, shortly before the plane took off, the British airport customs officers rescued Dick from the box and the doctors who “fitted” with him – responsible for ensuring that Dick died on the way. Diplomatic pouches are related to the two countries. This incident made the relationship between the UK and Nigeria once tense.

In Taiwan, in 2020, the election campaign was in full swing, and Tsai Ing-wen’s visit to the special plane was suspected of abusing the privilege of smuggling, which also caused an uproar on the island.

Observer Network reported that on July 30, Taiwan’s “Presidential Office” spokesperson Huang Chongxi disclosed that the Taiwan’s “smuggling of cigarettes” had already smashed 82 people, one of whom ordered more than 1,000 and one ordered 800 to 900. Between 11 and 50.

Some analysts said that Wu Zongxian may be just a “scapegoat”, and I don’t know how many people will be thrown out.