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US$46,000 offered to nab Beijing drug dealers
By Guang Xiaofeng & Chen Liang (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-11-25 00:56

In a first-ever move Wednesday, police announced rewards for five wanted drug dealers.

The Ministry of Public Security offered a total of 380,000 yuan (US$46,000) for the arrest of five Beijing drug dealers Wednesday.

This is the first time Chinese police offer nationwide rewards to track down drug dealers.

The five suspects are Liu Zhaohua, Luo Youwen, Ma Shunsu, Qiu Heshui and Liu Shaotong.

Different prices are attached to each suspect with the highest one of 200,000 yuan (US$24,000) offered for Liu Zhaohua, an "ice" manufacturer from Southeast China's Fujian Province.

The Ministry of Public Security also provided a telephone number to report to: 010-65204111.

As the nationwide crackdown on drugs kicked off again in August, police have busted 1,045 drug-related groups, arrested 10,537 suspects and seized 6.27 tons of drugs, according to Chen Cunyi, deputy director of the Ministry of Public Security's Narcotics Control Bureau.

Among these drugs, there were 3.15 tons of heroin, 2.03 tons of cannabis, 436.24 kilograms of "ice", 218.87 kilograms of opium, and 73.74 kilograms of amphetamine ecstasy or "head-shaking pills."

Thai assistance

As part of the campaign, police in China and Thailand launched joint efforts to stop a cross-national drug trafficking group in Southwest China's Yunnan Province without casualties. The project resulted in the seizure of 463 kilograms of heroin and the arrest of eight suspects.

Li Yuanhui, a local police officer in charge of the case, said the success of the operation, the biggest so far in the campaign, was attributed to a month long extremely arduous tracking of armed drug dealers through the rain forest.

Chinese police first arrested three suspects in the border county of Gengma in Yunnan Province on September 23.

Then they captured another four people in Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan, on October 26.

For their part, Thai police seized Liu Gangyi, the chief of the group, in Bangkok on October 29.

To date, 564 cases linked to more than 1 kilogram of drugs have been solved and 66 cross-national drug smuggling groups have been smashed.

12 Police die

Twelve police officers have died in gunfights with armed drug dealers in the campaign.

As a result of the campaign, the price of drugs across the country has soared. For example, the price of heroin in some frontier districts of Yunnan has increased by 126 per cent.

"It is a good phenomenon, which means our nationwide narcotics control battle has successfully restrained the underground market of the drugs," Chen said.

The campaign also targeted dance and singing halls, nightclubs and other places of entertainment where drug users and dealers gather.

Police checked 40,780 such venues across the country, shut down 106 and suspended 402.

The campaign also includes concerted efforts to find drug addicts and help them kick the habit.

A total of 84,633 drug addicts have been put into rehabilitation as part of the campaign.

So far, the number of registered drug users in China is 1 million.

"China has been actively involved in international efforts to control narcotics. Especially in recent years we have intensified co-operation with the United Nations and our counterparts in other countries, such as ASEAN countries, the US, Japan, the Republic of Korea, etc, to better tackle drug-related problems," Chen said.

"China is still faced with a serious situation in its fight against drugs," Chen said. "We are to consolidate the results of this campaign by establishing a lasting mechanism, such as strengthening education and improving our narcotics houses to fight drugs."

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