Taiwanese customs officers have seized nearly $400k in cash from two gamblers on their way back from Macau casinos with someone else’s alleged winnings.
Last Saturday, authorities at Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport detained two Taiwanese nationals – identified only by their surnames Chiang and Chen – who arrived on a flight from Macau. The twenty-something men were questioned after customs officials found $200k in undeclared cash in each man’s suitcase.
According to the Taipei Times, Chiang and Chen claimed they’d been approached in Macau by another Taiwanese man who claimed to have won big at the casino gaming tables. The man asked Chiang and Chen if they’d help him transport some of his windfall back to Taiwan, because, you know, there’s only so much room in a suitcase and too much cash means you might have to leave some old sweat socks or dirty underwear behind, so really, why wouldn’t you ask two total strangers to help carry all that pretty green?
Anyway, despite police questioning, Chiang and Chen declined to identify their overly trusting compatriot, nor were the pair willing to reveal what compensation (if any) they were to have received for doing this favor for their unidentified buddy. Police responded by launching an investigation into the source of the cash, which they suspect may be linked to a money-laundering scheme.
Chiang and Chen didn’t go away totally empty-handed, as the police let each man keep $10k of the cash in their suitcases. The amount is the maximum that any individual is allowed to bring in or out of the country without being declared under the terms of Taiwan’s recently revised Money Laundering Control Act.
The authorities said the seized cash was the single largest haul anyone has attempted to sneak into the country, at least, that the authorities are aware of.