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Drug-smuggling family nabbed
By Qin Lei and Li Fangchao (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-03-31 06:40

HARBIN: Police in Harbin have smashed an international drug ring spearheaded by a close knit family.

Officers in the capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province arrested seven family members and later investigations led to the arrest of 42 others.

More than 20,000 crystals of the so-called "ice" drug were seized with a street value of about 1 million yuan (US$120,000).

"The arrest means the collapse of a drug trafficking corridor that runs from Myanmar to Yunnan to Harbin," said police in a statement.

The ring leader was a 47-year-old woman named Tan Guiqin who appointed her immediate family as senior gang members.

They included her boyfriend Li Guobin, her son Zhang Tianle and his girlfriend Wang Songlan. Wang's niece Tan Yan, nephew Tan Fei and his girlfriend Sun Ying were also arrested.

Police were alerted to the family's drug dealing after Tan's neighbour, a man surnamed Li, spotted her selling drugs at a hotel where he was visiting a guest at the end of last year.

Li reported Tan to the police who launched a series of investigations. The police later found she had connections with drug traffickers in Myanmar.

Working closely with their colleagues in Yunnan, Harbin police found that Zhang, Wang, Sun had frequently shuttled between Yunnan and Harbin during January.

Gu Liguang, who headed the investigation team, said the three swallowed the drugs to smuggle them across province borders or through airports to Harbin.

Officers pounced on Tan and Li when they went to meet Sun off a plane at an airport in Harbin on January 4.

Sun was found carrying six packages containing more than 6,000 crystals of "ice" drugs.

Tan's son Zhang was arrested in Yunnan two days later.

(China Daily 03/31/2005 page3)

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