Report says 90% of drugs seized last year were smuggled in from Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia remains the largest source of drugs smuggled into China, accounting for over 90 percent of the drugs seized by law enforcement officers last year.
A government report released on Wednesday said China is still facing a grim fight against drugs being smuggled from abroad, including Laos, Myanmar and Thailand, despite ongoing efforts in cross-border cooperation.
The annual report on the drug situation in China for 2014, compiled by the National Narcotics Control Commission, said most of the heroin and methamphetamine sold in China came from these three countries, known as the Golden Triangle Area.
Large-scale methamphetamine production and processing plants also were operated there, the report said.
Figures released in the report show that Chinese anti-drug police officers confiscated 9.3 metric tons of heroin and 11.4 tons of methamphetamine – also known as ice – tablets last year.
According to the Ministry of Public Security, police in Yunnan province seized more than 5 tons of heroin and 9 tons of methamphetamine smuggled over the border with Myanmar last year.
Cases of drug smuggling have also risen sharply on the border between China and Vietnam, the ministry said.
Authorities in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region uncovered more than 3,000 cases last year and confiscated 400 kilograms of heroin, a sharp increase from 2013, according to the ministry.
Liu Yuejin, assistant minister of public security, said China borders two major sources of drugs – the Golden Triangle and the Golden Crescent, made up of parts of Central and South Asia.
The ministry said that last year, the area planted with opium poppy in Afghanistan reached a record 224,000 hectares, an increase of 7 percent year-on-year. Potential heroin production in Afghanistan was estimated at 670 tons, posing a huge threat to China.
“A large quantity of heroin produced in these areas is usually smuggled to the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, transferred to Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia and Vietnam, and then into Guangdong province by plane or mail express,” Liu said.
According to Liu Chunmei, senior official at the ministry’s Narcotics Control Bureau, drug traffickers also illegally brought cocaine from South America into China. It was detected in 12 provincial regions, including Guangdong and Yunnan provinces.
Last year, police in China uncovered 98 cases involving cocaine and confiscated 114.3 kg of cocaine in the 12 regions.
“Drug traffickers have tried to use shipments of marble, carpets and even Buddha statuettes to transport drugs as well as more traditional methods, such as the human body, luggage or cars,” Liu Chunmei said.
“In addition, suspects tend to become violent, and even use weapons to fight us at checkpoints,” she said.
To tackle the problem, China has established judicial cooperation with Southeast Asian countries, including Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Malaysia, she said.
It will promote law enforcement cooperation with some countries in Central and South Asia, including Pakistan and Afghanistan.
China is also trying to deepen judicial cooperation with North American and European countries to strengthen the exchange of intelligence and case cooperation, she added.
(China Daily 06/25/2015 page5)