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Stepping Up War on Drug Trafficking

During the last five years, Chinese customs cracked 636 drug-related cases over the past five years, seizing 12.4 tons of drugs, 271 tons of chemicals, and arresting 832 suspects, the General Administration of Customs announced Tuesday.

"Drug traffickers mainly make use of mail or cargo delivery for smuggling activities. They also always disguise themselves as passengers in an attempt to carry drugs through customs," said Lu Bin, director of the administration's Smuggling Cases Investigation Bureau.

During the period, China has seen an increase in the number of major drug smuggling cases, Lu said, noting they have cracked 41 such cases, seizing a total of 11,765 kilograms of drugs.

In the same period customs reported 306 drug smuggling cases originating from overseas and confiscated 1,677 kilograms of heroin and marijuana, indicating a still grave situation of the smuggling of traditional types of drugs, especially from overseas.

Meanwhile, China is facing up to a severe situation of smuggling cases of new types of drugs, such as ecstasy and "ice" (methamphetamine), which has become a main trend in drug trafficking, according to Lu.

Lu also pointed out these smuggling cases mainly happened in Yunnan, Guangdong, Fujian, Tibet, Sichuan, Shanghai and Dalian.

In Kunming, authorities cracked 171 drug-related cases, 27 per cent of the country's total.

In the meantime, drug trafficking in Guangdong Province is becoming increasingly serious and Guangdong has become the major channel and distributing centre for drug smuggling activities, Lu said.

In addition, drug traffickers from foreign countries and China's Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan are also spotted from time to time.

The Ministry of Public Security announced last week it will launch a new campaign against narcotics by cutting channels for drug trafficking from abroad, cracking down on domestic manufacturing of "ice" and stopping smuggling of home-made materials for making drugs.

The campaign, to be carried out between August and December, will focus on breaking up seven major channels between Chinese mainland and neighbouring countries and regions, said Yang Fengrui, director of the Anti-Drug Bureau of the ministry.

Ministry sources said China uncovered 93,900 drug-related cases last year, seizing 9,535 kilograms of heroin, 905 kilograms of opium, and 5,827 kilograms of "ice." Police arrested 63,000 suspects, said the ministry.

(China Daily August 5, 2004)

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