China / Society

Courts handling increased caseload

By Zhang Yi (China Daily) Updated: 2016-06-24 08:30

The Supreme People's Court said on Thursday that drug cases across the country last year surged by one-third, and it pledged to deal with the problem with an iron hand.

Nearly 140,000 drug cases were tried and closed last year, an increase of 30 percent from the previous year, according to data from the court.

"Heavy sentences apply in drug cases, especially those involving firearms in drug deals and taking part in international organized drug rings," said Ma Yan, deputy presiding judge of the 5th Criminal Court at the Supreme People's Court.

About 137,000 people have been convicted in the cases, up 25 percent from the previous year.

Nearly 20 percent of those convicted were sentenced to prison for more than five years or given death sentences.

"Death sentences apply to drug lords, professional drug dealers and repeat offenders in severe drug cases," Ma said.

The guideline for sentencing in drug cases was revised in April, extending the punishments to cases involving an additional 12 new types of drugs, including methcathinone and tramadol.

Li Jingran, an assistant judge of the 5th Criminal Court, said sentences for those who provide venues for others to use illicit drugs were specified in the guideline.

Heavy sentences will be given to those who provide minors with drugs or provide places for them to use drugs.

Gao Feng, a manager at a nightclub in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, was sentenced to two years in prison and fined 50,000 yuan ($7,600) this month for allowing 55 people to use drugs in two rooms of his club.

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