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A group of Taiwanese arrested in April for allegedly smuggling stimulant drugs into Japan have maintained that the drugs originated in North Korea and mainland China, police sources said Saturday.

Some of the suspects have told police the drugs are manufactured in the two countries at facilities built by a Hong Kong-based organization called Laoban, which means “the boss” in Chinese, the sources said.

Engineers dispatched from Taiwan hire workers in North Korea and mainland China to produce the drugs for sale in Japan, Taiwan and elsewhere, the sources quoted them as saying. Police plan to investigate the case in cooperation with Taiwanese authorities, they said.

On April 15, police arrested five people from Taiwan, including Huang Chao-hung, 35, and one Japanese, Hirofusa Nariai, a 41-year-old unemployed man from Osaka, for smuggling amphetamines through Kansai International Airport in Osaka Prefecture in violation of the Stimulants Control Law.

Police seized some 4.6 kg of stimulant drugs with a street value of 277 million yen, the largest amount confiscated in Japan in a single seizure this year.

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