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War on Drugs to Intensify

Chinese law enforcement officials have vowed to crack down on drug trafficking by improving their scientific knowledge and the nation's legal system.

This was the message conveyed by the national working conference on drug control held Sunday in southwest China's Yunnan Province, the most important trail through which drugs from the Golden Triangle snake their way into China.

Zhou Yongkang, director of the National Narcotics Control Commission, expressed the country's strong determination to continue its fight against illegal drugs this year. Zhou, also minister of public security, said the nation will step up campaigns to fight banned narcotics and continue to create more drug-free communities and villages, while improving cooperation with international agencies.

A General Administration of Customs report released yesterday shows that through May, agents across the country handled 42 major drug-trafficking cases involving 162 kilograms of illicit drugs.

The joint efforts in February of police in Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province, and Hefei, capital of east China's Anhui Province, uncovered a method through which drugs were shipped through the mail.

Eighteen of the year's major cases each involved more than 1 kilogram for a total of 158 kilograms. This is double the amount from the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

As many as 546,900 drug smuggling and trafficking cases were uncovered nationwide from 1998 through 2003. Some 51.0 tons of heroin was seized.

The police also confiscated 52.4 tons of methamphetamines, 14.7 tons of opium and 1,412.5 tons of chemicals that can be used to make drugs.

The country had registered 1.1 million drugs users by the end of last year.

In one of the latest cases in Xiamen, east China's Fujian Province, police arrested three suspected drug traffickers from Taiwan on Friday and seized 23 kilograms of ketamine, a kind of narcotic.

Working on a tip-off, officers detained suspects surnamed Yang and Luo, two intermediaries who helped to transport tea bags with narcotics inside from Guangdong to Xiamen. The police later located their commander, also surnamed Yang.

Preliminary investigation showed that all the three suspects were from Jinmen. They bought the ketamine in Guangdong and its final destination was Taiwan.

At about the same time, some 80 police officers in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province, raided a disco early on Saturday. They seized 37.2 grams of narcotics and detained 53 people, among whom 18 were confirmed as having taken either crystal methamphetamine, also known as ice, or ecstasy.

The disco was ordered closed and the case is under investigation.

Meanwhile, police in southwest China's Guizhou Province smashed two narcotics trafficking cases, apprehending three suspects and 13,000 tablets of ice.

The public security bureau in the city of Liupanshui said that the narcotics officers found more than 9,000 tablets of ice, weighing about 900 grams, in a car with a Beijing license plate on June 8. They immediately arrested two suspects, who confessed that the drugs were bought in Yunnan Province and were to be transported to Guangzhou for sale.

In Yunnan, local police arrested two suspects in a major transnational drug trafficking case. The border defense captured two M46 grenades and 110 kilograms of ice in the largest cross-border case detected by Yunnan police this year.

(China Daily June 21, 2004)

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