Republic of China, President Tsai Ing-wen

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – An employee of the National Security Bureau (NSB) tried to smuggle NT$6.45 million (US$207,000) worth of cigarettes into Taiwan on board of President Tsai Ing-wen’s flight back from a Caribbean trip.

Tsai arrived back in the country Monday (July 22) after a tour of its four allies Haiti, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Saint Lucia with stopovers in New York City and Denver, Colorado.

The NSB staff member went through a senior official at China Air Lines (CAL) to buy 9,200 tax-free cigarettes and bring them into Taiwan on the presidential plane, New Power Party lawmaker Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) wrote on his Facebook page.

However, customs officials found the tobacco products Saturday morning and impounded the whole batch, the United Daily News reported. The cigarettes had been moved to the main customs warehouse in Taipei.

In order to prevent smugglers using diplomatic privilege to bring banned products into Taiwan, customs would sit down with representatives of the Presidential Office and of security agencies to discuss more efficient measures, the report said.

The NSB said it could not comment on the case as the incident was already being handled by the judiciary.

Huang demanded disciplinary action both against the NSB employee and against the CAL official, according to the Liberty Times.