CHINA / National

Thousands arrested in drug war
By Jiang Zhuqing (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-06-23 06:29

Despite police arresting 58,000 suspected traffickers and seizing 6.9 tons of heroin last year, China's drug situation remains grave.

Chen Cunyi, deputy secretary-general of the National Narcotics Control Commission (NNCC), yesterday said the war on drugs faced expanding drug sources as well as a rising number of addicts.

While the Golden Triangle especially the northern part of Myanmar remains the main source of heroin, the Golden Crescent area in Central Asian, particularly Afghanistan, is now supplying the drug trade in China with an increasing flow of "ice," or methamphetamine, and heroin, Chen told a news conference organized by the State Council Information Office.

There were only two or three cases involving heroin from the Golden Crescent several years ago, but last year saw nine, he said.

He said in 2005 about 104,000 hectares of Afghanistan was sown with poppies, with an opium yield of 4,100 tons, or 87 per cent of the world total.

Police last year cracked cases involving Afghan heroin in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, South China's Guangdong Province and even in Beijing, said Chen.

In addition, ketamine from India and Southeast Asia, as well as cocaine from South America were seized in China.

About 55 per cent of the 2.6 tons of ketamine seized in China last year came from India.

In November 2005 and March 2006, more than 440 kilograms of cocaine from South America was seized, said Chen.

Also, "new types of drugs are found to have been trafficked from European countries," he added.

In one case Chinese police seized 463 kilograms of ecstasy from the Netherlands.

"Suspects from home and abroad have colluded with each other, with drug lords running operations from other countries," said Liu Yuejin, deputy director of the Narcotics Control Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS).

"This is the distinct character of cross-border drug trafficking."

Liu noted that foreign drug lords were behind every one of the eight major drug cases handled by the MPS last year.

He said the drug lords provided funds as well as organizing smuggling and sales rings in China.

Moreover, weapons are becoming more prominent in drugs cases, added Chen.

In April 2005 China's top leadership declared a "people's war on drugs," asking the public to help the fight against addiction.

Chen said enthusiasm for the campaign has been extremely high, with some 250,000 tips on drug activity pouring in.

China recorded 785,000 drug addicts at the end of 2005, about 700,000, or 89 per cent, of whom were addicted to heroin.

Page: 12