The Coast Guard Administration in Changhua County, Taiwan. Photo: Google Maps

Two Taiwanese men and five Vietnamese illegal migrants were arrested on Tuesday for illegally manufacturing cigarettes in Changhua County. Almost 5,000 kilograms of loose tobacco and cigarette-making machinery were confiscated in the raid on a warehouse that led to the arrests.

A ringleader surnamed Wu reportedly hired another Taiwanese man and five Vietnamese illegals to assist in the making of illicit cigarettes at the galvanized iron warehouse in Xiushui Town, The Liberty Times reported.

In late June, the Coast Guard Administration received a tip-off that a local syndicate was eyeing the lucrative market in illicit cigarettes.

On July 25, the authorities conducted a raid at the warehouse, where the seven people were arrested and seizures were made of almost five tonnes of loose tobacco along with machinery used in the manufacture of cigarettes.

Officials estimate that the large amount of tobacco confiscated could have resulted in the manufacture of 375,000 packs of cigarettes worth NT$37.5 million (US$1.22 million) on the open market.