Money talks in capturing drug suspect
A large cash reward has been given to two informers after the capture of China's most-wanted drug trafficking suspect.
It was the first time money has been offered nationwide to help track down dealers.
The money, 200,000 yuan (US$24,000), was given to the tipsters in Southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
Their identities are being kept secret for their own safety.
Suspect Liu Zhaohua had been on the run for five years.
As the alleged ringleader of a widespread drug trafficking network, he was accused of manufacturing up to 14 tons of methamphetamine, known on the street as "ice."
It was made at an underground plant in Northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, said Chen Cunyi, deputy director of the Ministry of Public Security's Narcotics Control Bureau.
Liu, 40, was arrested on March 5 in a rented house in his hometown of Fu'an in East China's Fujian Province, said Chen.
He was speaking at a reward-giving ceremony held yesterday in Beijing.
The two tipsters did not appear at the ceremony - police officers from Guangxi received the big cheque on their behalf.
Each informer will get half the reward, said Shan Huimin, a senior official with the ministry, adding that personal information about the two had to be kept secret for their own safety.
So far, Chinese police have captured more than 12 tons of "ice" - worth some US$5 billion in street value in other countries - that are allegedly connected with Liu.
According to Chinese law, a person who has produced more than 50 grams of the drug will be sentenced to 15 years in prison, life imprisonment or even receive the death penalty.
The alleged drug kingpin Liu had been on the run since 1999 when local police in South China's Guangdong Province found 11 tons of "ce " stored at a warehouse in Guangzhou.
Failing to get any news on his whereabouts for a long time, the Ministry of Public Security asked the public for help late last year, offering a 200,000 yuan reward for a tip-off.
Liu was one of the five names on China's list of top drug trafficking suspects announced last November.
The ministry offered a total reward of 380,000 yuan (US$46,000) for clues about the five suspects. The other four were Ma Shunsu, Luo Youwen, Qiu Heshui and Liu Shaotong.
Besides the highest "prize" of 200,000 yuan for Liu Zhaohua, Ma, Luo and Qiu were wanted with a reward of 50,000 yuan (US$6,000) for each, and the prize for Liu Shaotong was 30,000 yuan (US$3,600).
So far, Liu Zhaohua and Ma have been arrested thanks to valuable clues provided by the public, and the other three are still at large, said Chen.
Ma, a native of Dali Prefecture of Southwest China's Yunnan Province, was apprehended in Myanmar on January 8 and has now returned to China, said Chen.
At yesterday's ceremony, the reward of 50,000 yuan for Ma was given to a police officer from Yunnan on behalf of the tipster.
Although the history of rewarding informers can be traced back to ancient China, the People's Republic of China did not officially adopt the measure until 2000.
(China Daily 03/11/2005 page5)