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Chinese and Philippine Police Smash Drug Ring

Police from China and the Philippines recently cracked down on a transnational drug ring, arrested five suspects and seized 296 kilograms of ice, or methamphetamine, worth 100 million yuan (US$12 million), said a senior drug enforcement official.

On February 12, a joint anti-drug operation was launched in China and the Philippines to catch five drug suspects and confiscate 1.97 million yuan (US$238,200) of drug funds, Luo Feng, vice-commissioner of the National Narcotics Control Commission (NNCC), said Monday at a news conference sponsored by the Information Office of the State Council.

"The case shows China's affirmative attitude and determination to fulfill its liabilities to international conventions and to solve the drug problems which are becoming more and more serious," Luo said.

Early in 2003, drug police in east China's Fujian Province learned that 35-year-old suspected drug dealer Xiao Jiachen returned to Fujian and continued illegal drug trafficking with other accomplices.

Born in Jinjiang of Fujian Province, Xiao conducted his business in the Philippines before returning to China.

"After a 10 month investigation, Fujian police gradually figured out the kingpins, network system and activity routines of Xiao's drug ring," said Luo.

Police believe Xiao and fellow Jinjiang natives Chen Tianfu (male, 48), Shi Rong (male, 37) along with Hong Kong citizen Jiang Jianxin (male, 38) loomed over a drug ring that expanded from Fujian to Viet Nam, the Laos and the Philippines.

Jiang is still at large.

They allegedly trafficked ice bought from manufacturers abroad, transported it by sea to the Philippines into the mainland through two Taiwanese brokers, police believe are Lin Jishan and Zhang Shaoqi.

In September 2003, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) listed the case of Xiao Jiachen's drug trafficking organization and dubbed it "Case 9.2."

Police believe Xiao urged Chen Tianfu and Zhang Shaoqi to leave Kunming of Yunnan Province on September 18 and on October 19 to go to Vientiane, capital of Laos, to take care of a deal.

On December 20, a MPS anti-drug delegation visited the Philippines to inform its Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) about "Case 9.2."

On December 25, Xiao once again ordered Chen and Zhang to go to Laos to buy and move 296 kilograms of ice to the Philippines.

In response, the MPS' Department of Narcotics Control promptly organized and coordinated police departments in related provinces, such as Yunnan, Hubei and Hainan, to assist Fujian in investigation, surveillance and evidence collection.

At the same time, the MPS contacted the Philippines' Drug Enforcement Administration to propose a joint operation to thoroughly dismantle the drug ring and its distribution network.

On February 10, joint forces of the two countries secretly examined the targeted containers in the Philippine Customs and found the illegal ice hidden inside.

Upon request from China, Philippine police arrested Chen Tianfu in a hotel of Manila. At the same time, operations were carried out in the Chinese mainland to arrest suspects Xiao Jiachen, Zeng Wenliang (male, 50), Lin Shanji and Xu Wenchen in Jinjiang, Shishi of Fujian Province and Wuhan of Hubei Province.

On February 12, Philippine police and customs searched 754 boxes of wooden floor board in containers, and 296 kilograms of ice with the worth of 100 million yuan were found and confiscated.

The crackdown is one of the latest examples of China's cooperation with foreign police and international anti-drug organizations in dealing with illegal drug trafficking.

According to Yang Fengrui, permanent deputy secretary general of the MPS Bureau of Narcotics Control, China is ready to sign a cooperation agreement against the trafficking of narcotics and chemicals for illegal drug-making after reaching a consensus with the other five member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Yang said China is also engaged in the discussions of possible drug control cooperation agreements with Iran and Russia, both around the Golden Crescent, a major drug production base in central Asia.

As a regional cooperation mechanism, the SCO was established on June 15, 2001, and comprises China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

(China Daily March 2, 2004)

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