Joint action helps bust cross border drug ring
By Jiang Zhuqing (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-10-19 06:01
A precise, painstaking drug-bust operation spanning 11 months and involving co-ordination between the police forces of four countries has yielded a big catch and is a testament to increased co-operation between China and its neighbours.
The outcome: 70 suspects, including the alleged kingpin, arrested; more than 726 kilograms of heroin seized; and cash and property worth millions confiscated in one of the biggest operations in the region during the past several years.
The street value of the heroin is estimated to be about US$18 million in Beijing or Shanghai and a staggering US$72 million in New York.
Also, law enforcement agencies in China, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand captured vehicles, guns and rocket launchers.
The alleged ringleader, 35-year-old Chinese national Han Yongwan regarded as one of the most dangerous drug lords in northern Myanmar trafficking drugs to China has been captured, police officials said.
Initial investigations indicate that Han had long been engaged in drug trafficking in the border areas between the four nations. Han was first arrested in Laos on September 22 and delivered to Myanmar, which deported him to China on October 2.
The sequence of events which led to the successful transnational operation emerged yesterday in a statement by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) released at a joint press conference before the inauguration of the Second International Congress of the ASEAN and China Co-operative Operations in Response to Dangerous Drugs (ACCORD).
November 2, 2004: Border police in Yunnan Province were informed that a shipment of drugs was being sent into Chinese territory from neighbouring Myanmar. The MPS then set the wheels in motion, with the case codenamed "11.02".
November 6: Yunnan police tracked down and seized 220 kilograms of heroin in two teakwood-loaded trucks coming from Myanmar, and two suspects were arrested on the spot. The ministry then ordered police forces in different regions to widen investigation 11 suspects were arrested and 10.8 kilograms of heroin seized in Guangdong, Gansu and Ningxia. Two major trafficking syndicates in the first two provinces were destroyed.
June, 2005: Yunnan police issued a public "wanted" notice for the capture of Han.
Early September: Yunnan border police received a tip-off that a shipment of drugs organized by Han would be transported to Dachileik from Bangkang, Myanmar.
Chinese police passed this information to the Myanmar Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control and a China/Myanmar joint task force was set up.
September 10: A total of 496 kilograms of heroin belonging to Han was seized at Lhashue region of Myanmar.
September 22: With the close co-operation of police forces in Laos and Thailand, Han and his carrier "Ah Shou" were arrested in Huaphan Province of Laos. Another five Lao suspects were also caught.
"This is a good example of law enforcement co-operation against transnational drug trafficking under the ASEAN-China drug control system," Zhang Chongde, deputy director general of the Border Control Bureau of the MPS, said yesterday.
"Myanmar has, in recent years, sent back 36 drug traffickers who were hiding in the nation," Police Colonel Hkam Awng, joint secretary of the Central Committee for Drugs Abuse Control of Myanmar's Ministry of Home Affairs, told China Daily.
Zhang and Hkam Awng are among the 200-plus representatives and experts from ACCORD member countries, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the ASEAN Secretariat as well as other countries and international organizations attending the drug control congress.
The three-day congress will focus on measures to strengthen and improve the effectiveness of cooperation among countries in the region, discuss the draft of the "Beijing Declaration" and the updated ACCORD Plan of Action.
ACCORD was formulated at the 2000 Bangkok International Congress "In Pursuit of a Drug-free ASEAN 2015" and the Plan of Action was endorsed as the sole co-operative framework for drug control in ASEAN and China by 36 countries and 16 international organizations.
On September 23, 2004, police in Yunnan seized 463.92 kilograms of heroin with the help of other members of ACCORD.
(China Daily 10/19/2005 page1)