Shenzhen's public security bureau yesterday handed over 30 drug users to Hong Kong police as part of an ongoing bid to crack down on cross-border drug crimes.
The 29 men and one woman, aged 22 to 56, were caught earlier this month taking ketamine and ecstasy during police raids on four entertainment sites in Shenzhen in south China's Guangdong Province.
Since their arrest, the 30 have been kept in police custody or at drug rehabilitation units.
Yesterday's handover was the first of its kind this year, a spokesman for Shenzhen police said.
In the past three years, more than 200 criminals have been handed back to Hong Kong on eight separate occasions.
Responding to the suggestion that more and more Hong Kong residents were crossing the border to take drugs in this southern boomtown, a police spokesman denied the city offered drug users a more "favorable environment".
"We never relax our vigilance on drug-related crimes," Shi Gang, a spokesman for the Shenzhen public security bureau, told a press briefing yesterday.
As well as running campaigns to educate the public of the dangers of drugs, the police, in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies, have staged frequent raids on entertainment venues, which are often a haven for drug users.
"If drug users are found in a venue it will be closed down until the situation is rectified. If drugs were found to be on sale, its owners and management will face criminal prosecution," Shi said.
Shenzhen police are currently working on an award system to encourage members of the public to report drug-related crimes, Shi said.
Meanwhile, an anti-drug team from Hong Kong and Guangdong will, for the remainder of the year, target drug use among young people, a report by Hong Kong-based newspaper Da Kung Po, said.
More than 70 youngsters from Hong Kong were caught taking drugs in Guangdong during May and June.
Guangdong police plan to increase the punishment for under-18s from a 24-hour detention to 15 days' detention plus notification of their parents and schools, the report said.
(China Daily July 19, 2007)