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Courier security keeps drugs out of parcels in Guangzhou

China Daily | Updated: 2019-07-03 08:51

After receiving a parcel, courier Wang Xiangjun would spend less than a minute verifying ID cards of customers, checking the items inside the parcel and uploading information to a system connected to local police authorities.

Wang's store, which has been open for three years, is located in an area inhabited by a large number of migrant workers in the Baiyun district of Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong province. On the walls of the store, there are anti-drug slogans, pictures and signs telling people to register real-name information and to open parcels for checks.

It is a routine process repeated every day in thousands of logistic stores in the district, and Wang is among 38,000 local couriers who are anti-drug volunteers.

Over the years, the rapid development of the courier industry has brought not only economic benefits but also security risks. In Baiyun, the transportation of contraband goods and drugs was once common. Baiyun is known to be one of the largest logistic centers in China.

At the end of 2015, the district was listed by the China National Narcotics Control Commission as one of the areas with a prominent drug trafficking issue. Local police devised a system named Yundi'an, literally meaning "Cloud Courier Security", in 2016 to strengthen supervision of the courier industry.

Legions of couriers handle parcels with the system's mobile phone app, facilitating supervision of the entire express delivery business process.

"The strict management can reduce the outflow of drugs and other illegal goods, and also safeguard our own security," Wang said. "Customers have also gradually become accustomed to providing real-name information and opening parcels for inspections."

Every week, anti-drug volunteers like Wang spend one hour on training and security education organized by local police.

Before, Wang could not recognize any drug. Now, he can accurately identify the features of common drugs such as methamphetamine and ecstasy. He notifies the police whenever he finds any suspected drugs inside the parcels.

Police authorities in Baiyun have also set up a special brigade to patrol logistic stores and to step up supervision of high-risk groups.

In recent years, the internet and the courier service industry have become new channels for drug trafficking.

According to a report released by the commission last month, some suspects would sell and buy drugs and chemicals used for illicit drug manufacturing via the internet, and would use courier services to transport drugs without providing their real names.

Baiyun authorities have effectively curbed local drug trafficking after promoting the Yundi'an system among a large number of couriers.

Over the past three years, the system has helped police uncover more than 600 drug users and traffickers, 34 drug trafficking cases and seized 1.33 metric tons of drugs.

Last year, the local courier business had increased by 165 percent to 3.2 billion parcels, with drug-related cases in the sector falling by 93 percent.

A spate of measures, including the Yundi'an system, a smart door system and face-recognition technology, has helped tackle the once-prominent drug trafficking issue and improved social security, said Zhao Yanchun, deputy director of the Baiyun district public security bureau.

A total of 159 teams from home and abroad have come to Baiyun to learn of the area's experience. "We have come up with an anti-drug solution that can be replicated and promoted in the logistics sector," Zhao said.


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