Foreign drug traffickers are duping an increasing number of Chinese women, especially young victims, into carrying drugs into China, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) has said.
"A rising number of foreign drug traffickers are using the Internet as a tool to recruit or trick Chinese women to transport and receive drugs in China," a statement from the GAC said late on Tuesday.
A number of the women met African men online and later agreed to be the recipients of the packages sent by their "boyfriends", but what they did not know was that the packages contained illegal substances such as cannabis and heroin, GAC said.
China customs recently detected two packages sent to the country from overseas, each containing about 4 kg of cannabis. They were sent to two Chinese women who said the senders were their "online boyfriends" and they did not know what was in the packages, the GAC said.
China customs cracked more than 150 cases of transporting drugs via post and special delivery last year, almost triple the number in 2008. More than 250 kg of drugs were seized in mail and 80 suspects were detained, the GAC said.
Young women are especially being targeted by foreign drug traffickers both online and offline. The customs in Guangzhou, Haikou and Shenzhen cities have busted a series of drug smuggling cases carried out by women who are born after 1980 and it has become a trend, the authorities said.
Young women are seen as easily manipulated or tricked into transporting drugs, especially when money and relationships are involved. The drug traffickers also believe they are not obvious targets of the customs officials.
According to a case revealed by the GAC, a 22-year-old Chinese woman surnamed Luo who studied in Malaysia was detained last March when she tried to pass customs officials with two luggages containing drugs.
Luo said she agreed to carry the luggage from Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia, to China for her Nigerian classmate after accepting a $2,000 fee. She was allegedly not aware that she was smuggling drugs.
In another case, a 25-year-old Chinese girl surnamed Li reportedly met a Nigerian called Frank in January last year in China and soon fell in love with him. Two months later, Frank asked Li to go to Malaysia and pick up some "samples" for him.
Li said she was suspicious then that the samples might be drugs but she still agreed to the request because she loved her boyfriend and was promised 10,000 yuan as fees for her help. Li was detained by the customs as soon as she returned to China with her boyfriend's goods.
Chinese customs nabbed more than 2,110 kg of drugs during its crackdown on drug trafficking last year, a rise of 150 percent year on year.
The customs cracked 15 cases, each involving more than 10 kg of drugs, and busted 506 drug smuggling cases last year, up 34 per cent year on year. It also seized 553 suspects, 8 percent more than the number a year earlier.