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Anti-drugs Drive Yields Progress
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The number of heroin addicts in China has declined and drug abuse has been reduced as police crack down on drug trafficking activities, officials said.

"The anti-drug campaign has made significant progress. Drug supply routes have been reduced," said Liu Yuejin, deputy director of the anti-drug bureau of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) at a press conference yesterday.

"We have taken the initiative in the anti-drug war," he said.

In the January-November period police seized 4.79 tons of heroin, 1.52 tons of opium, 4.9 tons of crystallized methamphetamine (commonly known as "ice"), 329,000 tablets of ecstasy, 1.5 tons of ketamine and 267.5 tons of chemicals used to produce drugs.

To date, Chinese police have captured 50 of the 85 major international drug smugglers identified by the MPS with the help of Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and the Philippines.

On December 19, Chinese and Philippine police uncovered a large drugs trafficking case in which one ton of ephedrine, and 350 kilograms of "ice" were seized.

The amount ephedrine can be processed into 500 to 600 kilograms of "ice," according to Fu Shijie, head of the Fujian provincial anti-narcotics department.

Fifteen suspects were captured in China and five in the Philippines.

Shao Chuntian, the ringleader from the Quanzhou of Fujian, was found to have set up a 3,000-square metre drug plant in the Philippines last year.

This year, China has spent more than 110 million yuan (US$13.75 million) to set up a powerful prevention and control network along the southwestern, northwestern, northeastern and southeastern provinces.

The network connects local departments of public security, frontier defence, post, railway, transport, aviation and customs.

The network was successful in uncovering 9,959 drug-related cases involving 10,583 people in Yunnan Province alone through November. Another 31 cases in the Golden Triangle were uncovered. Eighty-four people were arrested and 84.56 kilograms of heroin seized.

(China Daily December 27, 2006)

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