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Anti-drug Push Nets 23 Suspects in Southwest China Province
Stringent efforts over the past two months to make life tough for drug traffickers in the nation's Southwest Yunnan Province have been branded a success.

Local police cracked nine major drug trafficking cases, netted 23 suspects and captured more than 120 kilograms of heroin and other narcotics during their sting operations, police said yesterday.

Drug trafficking had become more prevalent in the province while China focused much of its attention on winning the fight against SARS, a Yunnan Public Security Bureau spokesman said.

However, he said Yunnan police officers strengthened their anti-drug push over the period and at the same time, helped local governments to prevent the spread of the flu-like virus.

In the first week of May alone, local police swooped on three drug trafficking cases in Yongde County, in southern Yunnan, seizing more than 5 kilograms of heroin.

In the largest of the nine cases, police from the Xishuangbanna Prefecture seized more than 35 kilograms of heroin from a truck loaded with timber on its way to Jinghong, the prefecture's capital, in late April. All suspects were arrested and they claimed said the timber was on its way to southern coastal areas via Kunming, the capital of the province.

Yunnan Province, which borders the notorious "Golden Triangle," is still facing serious drug-trafficking problems, Jiang Pusheng, the director of the province's public security bureau, said earlier this year.

Local police have worked hard to strengthen their anti-drug push in three ways -- by directly tackling trafficking, enhancing the rehabilitation of addicts and promoting the anti-drug message, Jiang said.

According to statistics, their continuous efforts have proven successful by reducing the once rampant trafficking of drugs in certain regions.

There are now 12 drug-free counties in Yunnan, accounting for 9.4 per cent of the total 128 cities and counties in Yunnan Province.

An area or county is classified as drug free if there are no reports about drug-users, drug trafficking or drug-related crimes during a certain period.

(China Daily June 4, 2003)

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