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Drug crimes 'getting serious'
By Qiu Quanlin (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-02-19 07:43

GUANGZHOU: Officials of the Guangdong provincial people's conference yesterday called on authorities to step up efforts to curb drug-related crimes, saying the southern province was now a major base for producing and trafficking banned substances in the country.

"Guangdong has become a massive base for producing and trafficking drugs," said Lei Hu, an official with the investigation office of drug crimes under the Guangzhou public security bureau.

He said synthetic drugs such as ecstasy pills and "ice (crystal methamphetamine)", and many other "soft drugs", were now being produced in Guangzhou, the provincial capital.

"The province is also home to the largest number of drug addicts, drug varieties and manufacturers in the country," said Lei, a delegate to the provincial people's congress.

In a recent case, Chen Bingxi, the leader of a local drug syndicate in Guangdong, was convicted for being involved in what is believed to be the world's biggest "ice" producing and trafficking case.

Chen was accused of producing and trading 12.36 tons of methamphetamine, and selling 108.85 kg of heroin. A local court sentenced him to death last year.

"The production of drugs in the province is getting too serious to ignore," said Deng Weiqiang, Party chief of Guangzhou's Haizhu district.

"We need to intensify efforts to crack down on such crimes by introducing serious judicial punishments, or even death penalties, for convicted drug producers and traffickers," Deng said.

However, Lei felt that a major clampdown on the illegal activity was impossible unless more police officials get involved in the cleanup.

"The number of officials designated to fight drug crimes accounts for only one percent of the province's total police force," Lei said.

"We need more officials. And we need closer cooperation with industrial, commercial and chemical industries to fight the crime," he said, adding there was a lack of financial support, too.

In a draft financial budget report to the local people's congress this year, only 10 million yuan ($1.46 million) are allocated for fighting drug-related crimes, he said. "The amount is far from enough," he said.

In response, Zhu Xiaodan, Party chief of Guangzhou, said the city would introduce a series of comprehensive measures to crack down on drug crimes.

Liu Fucai, director of the Guangdong provincial commission of state property management, said: "We will earmark another 30 million yuan, which is the annual budget to support the development of the Chinese soccer team, to reward the police for fighting drug crimes."

(China Daily 02/19/2009 page5)