Malaysians could face death for trafficking
SHENZHEN: Three Malaysians accused of smuggling the hallucinogen drug ketamine into China will appear in court.
Almost seven kilos were seized in January in the biggest customs haul of the drug this year.
Also known as K powder or Ket, ketamine is a legitimate chemical anaesthetic used on animals and humans, but is now on the rise in clubs and pubs in China.
Effects lead to rapture, paranoia or extreme boredom.
A luggage holder apprently fled when customs officials searched his bags at Luohu checkpoint, the country's busiest passenger land port.
The drugs are said to have been wrapped in silver foil and tagged as if they were health products.
The luggage holder was not arrested until March 10, when he appeared at Gongbei checkpoint in Zhuhai of Guangdong Province, allegedly attempting to use a false passport.
Two accomplices were arrested in Shenzhen on the same day.
International law states that foreign drug smugglers can be judged and sentenced in the country where they commit the crime. In China, this could mean the death penalty.
Cheng Zhihong, a Customs official, said a growing number of foreigners, especially those from Southeast Asian countries, have been found smuggling drugs into China to supply a rising demand.
Figures from the General Administration of customs demonstrate that customs throughout the country have so far this year come across 49 cases of drug trafficking, seizing 73 kilograms of drugs - 35 of which were ketamine.
(China Daily 05/26/2005 page3)