Police Crack Major MDMA Case in China

Chinese police have foiled a major drug smuggling case, confiscating over 2,400 MDMA pills, or amphetamine tablets, some 72 grams of "ice" and 30 grams of marijuana, the Ministry of Public Security disclosed Tuesday.

The ministry confirmed that a suspect, surnamed Liu, was apprehended in mid-September at a hotel in the Xuhui District of Shanghai, China's financial center, together with stashes of "ice," or methamphetimine, and marijuana.

Using information from Liu's confession, police caught Chen Minjun, who was dispatched by a Hong Kong drug trader to smuggle narcotics into Shanghai, at the New Railway Station of Shanghai on the evening of September 25.

Chen was in possession of 2,446 MDMA pills, an amphetamine known in China as the "shaking head pills," when he was caught.

During the January-July period of this year, more than 130 ice-related cases were investigated, with more than 17 tons of the drug confiscated, said Yang Fengrui, director of the Narcotics Control Bureau under the Ministry of Public Security.

He said that currently, the bulk of the ice confiscated in China is manufactured by criminal rings that have mastered the skill of chemical synthesis, which is less expensive, choosing it over the traditional costly method of processing ephedrine.

In view of the rampant manufacturing and smuggling of "ice" and raw materials for making the drug, China began a four-month operation in September to strike against ice-related crimes and to strengthen the management of raw chemical trade.

Government organs participating in the operation include the General Administration of Customs, the National Trade and Economic Commission, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, the State Drug Administration, as well as the Ministry of Public Security.

China currently faces an alarming drug problem, with more than 680,000 drug addicts on record by the end of 1999, 80 percent of whom are male.

Approximately 78 percent of China's drug addicts are between ages 17 and 35, and 72 percent of the country's drug population are heroin users, according to the ministry.

People's Daily Online --- http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/