Desire for high profits means foreign gangs are targeting key areas, with many suspects entering the country illegally
China is still facing a grim task in combating drug offenses involving foreigners, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Public Security.
Many foreign drug suspects who have been investigated don’t have the documentation to enter, live or work in China, the official said.
Police nationwide handled 1,479 drug-related crimes involving foreigners last year, the ministry said. The figure was nearly the same as that for 2013 but an increase of 15.4 percent compared with 2012.
A total of 1,832 foreign drug suspects were arrested last year – again nearly the same as the figure for 2013 – but an increase of 17.3 percent from 2012.
Most of the foreign suspects came from West Africa, North America and some Southeast Asian countries, Liu Yuejin, assistant public security minister, told China Daily.
Strong market demand, the desire for high profits, and loopholes in social management mean that foreign drug gangs are active in some key areas, Liu said.
These include Beijing, Guangdong and Yunnan provinces and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, he said.
“We are still facing difficulties in obtaining more evidence to smash criminal gangs from overseas due to barriers involving language and legal procedures.”
Liu said some African drug suspects have acted as “agents” for Pakistani drug lords.
Many foreign suspects were hired to smuggle heroin from the Golden Crescent region – the mountainous valleys of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan – or brought marijuana or cocaine into China illegally from Africa and South America.
“After obtaining drugs from these drug lords, they usually hire foreign traffickers who hide the drugs in their bodies or luggage. They either carry the drugs illegally to Beijing and Shanghai or send them to Guangdong and other provinces through express mail services,” Liu said.
Hu Minglang, director of the ministry’s Narcotics Control Bureau, said some foreign drug traffickers obtained synthetic drugs, including methamphetamine, very cheaply in the Guangdong cities of Lufeng and Jieyang.
They then hired local women who were pregnant, single women or unemployed people to take the drugs to other countries, including Australia and New Zealand, to earn high profits.
Hu said law enforcement authorities in China have cracked down on rampant drug manufacturing and trafficking in Guangdong.
Last year, police confiscated 10.3 tons of crystal methamphetamine and smashed a number of underground drug manufacturing dens in Lufeng.
Liu said that to tackle serious drug offenses involving foreign suspects, China will strengthen judicial cooperation with countries in the Golden Crescent and Golden Triangle regions. The latter comprises parts of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar.
It will offer all these countries additional technical support and personnel training to improve their capability to curb drug smuggling.
Improved cooperation with the United States, Australia, New Zealand and European countries is also needed to share intelligence, investigate cases, exchange evidence and to carry out cooperative operations to smash major cross-border drug trafficking rings, Liu added.