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China, Philippines Jointly Bust Drug Ring

Narcotics control agents in China and the Philippines jointly solved a major drug case on February 12 in which five suspects were arrested in the two countries, and 296 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride – commonly known as “ice” – were seized.


The drugs, found in containers in the Philippines, were valued at about 87 million yuan (US$10 million).


Luo Feng, vice commissioner of the National Narcotics Control Committee (NNCC) and vice minister of public security, released the news at a press conference sponsored by the State Council Information Office on March 1.


The wide-ranging investigation, which began in east China’s Fujian Province in early 2003, eventually extended through several other provinces and to Laos and the Philippines, said Luo. Chinese suspects included residents of Taiwan and Hong Kong as well as the mainland.


Ten months of undercover work revealed that principal suspects conspired in Fujian, Vientiane and Manila to transport ice purchased from makers abroad by sea to the Philippines. On December 10, the Ministry of Public Security’s Department of Narcotics Control advised the Drug Enforcement Administration of the Philippines about the case.


In January, Chinese and Philippine authorities agreed to form a joint task force to seize a major shipment of ice they believed to be under way.


On February 10, task force members searched the suspect containers at Philippine Customs and found the 296 kilograms of ice hidden inside. One alleged conspirator, a Chinese citizen, was arrested at a Manila hotel, and four others at various locations on the mainland. Three Filipino suspects and two holding UK passports fled the Philippines prior to arrest.


Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo praised the cooperative efforts of Chinese and Philippine law enforcement agencies and extended her appreciation to the Chinese government.


The success of the case shows the affirmative attitude of the Chinese government and law enforcement agencies toward fulfilling international obligations, as well as their determination to solving the drug problem, said Luo.


(China.org.cn March 1, 2004)


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