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Drug crimes, busts up over 20% since 2013, officials say

By Zhang Yan | China Daily | Updated: 2014-06-24 07:09

Police nationwide are stepping up efforts to curb the increasing number of drug-related crimes, the Ministry of Public Security said.

Anti-narcotics officers uncovered 151,000 drug-related crimes and arrested 168,000 suspects across the country last year, up more than 20 percent year-on-year, according to the ministry.

The officers seized 8.55 metric tons of heroin and 9.7 tons of ketamine - an increase of 17.4 percent for heroin and more than double the amount for ketamine year-on-year. They also confiscated 19.5 tons of "ice", or crystal methamphetamine, an increase of 20.8 percent year-on-year.

"Huge market demand and the lure of large profits all contributed to the sharp increase in such crimes," said Liu Yuejin, director of the ministry's Narcotics Control Bureau.

To intensify the crackdown on such criminal activity, Liu said the police will focus on areas like Lufeng in Guangdong province. They will target drug manufacturing and trafficking as well as the chemicals used in producing drugs.

Authorities will also enhance measures to combat the transport and sale of drugs, as well as direct local public security agencies to improve coordination to target cross-regional crimes, he said.

Liu said the abuse of drugs, especially synthetic ones, can easily lead to mental problems. Addicts can then be prone to extreme and violent behavior, including kidnapping and murder, he said.

Drug addiction can also seriously damage abusers' health and result in the spread of diseases, including AIDS, he said.

In some recent drug cases, suspects used Internet chatting platforms to organize and operate drug-trafficking rings. They also used the online platforms to learn how to produce drugs, to find the raw materials for producing them, and to sell the drugs, said Song Zengliang, senior officer of the Narcotics Control Bureau.

Some suspects traffic drugs through logistics or express delivery channels, he said.

Police uncovered 443 such cases last year involving logistics companies, ministry figures showed. They detained 696 suspects and seized 1,204 kilograms of drugs, an increase of more than 50 percent year-on-year.

Most of the "ice" and ketamine consumed in the country came from Guangdong and Sichuan provinces.

A typical case occurred in December, when 4,000 police officers raided villages producing drugs in Lufeng. Police confiscated nearly 3 tons of drugs at the scene and smashed more than 200 drug-producing dens.

Liu acknowledged that some loopholes exist in the fight against drugs. And some government officials still do not realize the danger of drugs and do not place a high priority on drug control, he said.

There are only 20,000 anti-drug police personnel nationwide - not enough to bear the heavy load and complex nature of drug-control work, he said.

Li Li, a lawyer from the Beijing Lawyers Society, said the priority is to update appropriate laws to meet the needs of current anti-drug work.

Drug crimes, busts up over 20% since 2013, officials say

A sniffer dog hunts for contraband during a public open-day event held by the customs office in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on Sunday. Zou Zhongpin / China Daily


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