China destroys smuggled drugs ahead of int'l anti-drug day

10:30, June 26, 2010      

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China's General Administration of Customs incinerated more than a tonne of smuggled drugs Friday in south China' s Guangdong Province, on the eve of the 24th International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

A total of 3,750 packages of heroin, weighing a total of 1033.36 kg, were destroyed Friday morning in eight incinerators at a square in Humen Township of Dongguan City, said Zhao Fudi, a customs spokesman.

The drugs were seized after the Huangpu Customs of Guangdong cracked a series of heroin smuggling cases in October of 2009, he said.

"We hope this action shows our resolution in combating drugs and deters drug traffickers," Zhao said.

The action mirrored a historic event in 1839 when Lin Zexu, an official of the Qing Dynasty, burned 1,000 tonnes of smuggled opium confiscated from foreign dealers in the same area.

From January 2009 to May 2010, the Chinese customs broke up 657 drug smuggling cases, seized 2,433.5 kg of various drugs and arrested 721 suspects, Zhao said.

In 2009 alone, drug sniffing police dogs helped solve 100 drug smuggling cases and confiscate 332.39 kg of drugs, he added.

As drug abuse remains rampant worldwide, diversified sources and channels of drug smuggling have resulted in new challenges in China's anti-drug enforcement efforts, said Zhang Yuejin, deputy head of the National Narcotics Control Commission (NNCC).

Traditionally, traffickers brought drugs with them to smuggle past customs agents, but in recent years they have frequently resorted to transporting illegal drugs inside cargo, Zhao said.

Customs agents found many dealers hiding drugs in goods such as buttons, cotton threads, carpets and motorcycle parts, he said. "All customs agents in China have been ordered to closely inspect imported goods after evaluating their risks of carrying illicit drugs."

Further, customs officials have also stepped up crackdowns on drug smuggling through express delivery services.

Foreign traffickers have sent parcels containing drugs to large and medium-sized cities in China and asked Chinese acquaintances to accept such parcels.

"Many Chinese were involved in these crimes unwittingly," Zhao said.

"We had strived to find the manipulators and warned the public not to be taken advantage of by drug smugglers, which effectively curbed the spread of this smuggling method," he said.

Last year, Chinese police seized 27.7 tonnes of drugs ranging from heroin to ketamine and cracked 77,000 cases of drug-related crimes while detaining 91,000 criminal suspects, according to the 12th annual report on controlling drugs released by the NNCC in March.

The report also reported that some 173,000 drug addicts were forced into treatment in 2009 while 68,000 former addicts had remained drug-free for more than three years.

Source: Xinhua


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