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Rise in foreign drug suspects

By Wang Fei (Global Times)

08:24, June 25, 2013

Beijing prosecutors have revealed that the number of drug cases involving foreigners has increased in the last five years, and also that the number of women being used as drug mules has risen.

The announcements, by two jurisdictions in the capital, come ahead of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which falls on June 26 every year.

From 2011 to March 2012, the No.2 Branch of Beijing Municipal People's Procuratorate in Chaoyang district accepted seven foreign-related cases, accounting for 23 percent of all drug cases it accepted. Two suspects were overseas students in China, and the other five were unemployed, The Beijing News reported Saturday.

More than 80 percent of foreign suspects come from African nations, mainly the northern and eastern parts of the continent. Most of the drugs trafficked by foreigners are marijuana and methamphetamine.

The Sanlitun and Workers' Stadium shopping and entertainment areas, which are adjacent to embassies in Chaoyang district, are the main areas for trade of small amounts of drugs by foreigners, said the newspaper.

Residents, both foreign and Chinese, said they have been approached to buy drugs from African people.

Mike Kuaw, a Chinese high school student who lives in the area, said locals are used to seeing drug peddlers, and he and his friends ignore them.

"There are many African people along the road near Sanlitun No.1 High School. The police there seem to be unaware of them since they only speak to the foreigners," said Kuaw.

Meanwhile, prosecutors in Beijing's Haidian district, where universities are concentrated, reported that since 2007, there have been more women involved in the drug trade. Drug traffickers often employ pregnant women as they can obtain bail pending trial while still pregnant. Over 30 percent of the 265 cases handled by Haidian district court in 2012 involved women.

From January to May this year, Beijing police busted over 680 drug cases. Over 720 suspects were detained and more than 2,000 drug addicts were seized. Some 60 kilograms of drugs were captured, a 78.5 percent increase over the same period of last year, according to a circular from Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau.

On Friday morning, police destroyed 274.658 kilograms of drugs captured through 2010 to 2011, the total value of which on the black market would exceed 200 million yuan ($32.62 million).

The city's anti-drug push includes mobilizing 24,000 volunteers and 1,000 social workers in over 300 communities and townships. Ten methadone treatment centers have been set up in the city, with 3,400 drug users going through detox.

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