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Electronics detection dog assisting in major cases

Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwan’s first electronic storage device detection dog (K9 ESD), Wafer, has helped in three major crime cases, the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) said yesterday at a news conference in Taipei, which also marked Wafer’s first public appearance.

Since arriving in Taiwan in August last year, Wafer has found hidden devices belonging to the main suspect in a methamphetamine bust and helped investigations into election gambling, scam and money laundering cases, the CIB said.

A K9 ESD is trained to sniff out the chemical substance triphenylphosphine oxide (TPPO), which is found in electronic storage devices such as cellphones, hard drives, flash drives or cold wallets for cryptocurrency that might contain illegal content and evidence of criminal activity, the CIB said.

Photo: CNA

Wafer reacts to confirm the locations of storage devices at investigation sites, the CIB said, adding that since its arrival, the sniffer dog has helped police find cellphones and tablets hidden in bedside cabinets and closets by crime ring members.

Wafer was donated to Taiwanese police force by the US-based nonprofit organization Operation Underground Railroad (OUR), which fights human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

OUR Asian division vice chair Nate Davis said new forms of crime require police to adopt new equipment and approaches, and Wafer can help detect electronic devices, giving investigators access to any criminal information stored on them.

CIB International Criminal Affairs Division researcher Lee Kun-ta (李昆達) said officers at the National Police Agency’s Third Special Police Corps underwent training in the US after coordinating with US Department of Homeland Security investigators and the OUR in July last year.

Wafer was brought to Taiwan to support law enforcement in the following month.

Davis told the press that the OUR donated a K9 ESD to Taiwan because the country works hard to fight human trafficking.

Wafer was named as a nod to Taiwan’s semiconductor industry, he added.

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