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Court Hears Cross-border Heroin Trafficking Case
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A court in southwest China's Yunnan Province on Thursday heard a cross-border drug-trafficking case involving 70 suspects and nearly 800 kilograms of heroin.

Kunming Intermediate People's Court tried Han Yongwan, Duan Biwu and Han Qifan, the alleged ringleaders of the 70-strong syndicate which included Chinese as well as Myanmar and Laos nationals.

It is not clear how long the trial will last because the defendants revoked their confessions on the first day, the court said.

Han Yongwan, 37, the head of the syndicate, is widely regarded as one of the most dangerous drug lords in northern Myanmar and China.

Originally from Longchuan County in Yunnan Province, Han has allegedly been engaged in trafficking 775 kilograms of drugs since 2001 in the border areas between China, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand, a region known as the Golden Triangle of drug-production, the court heard.

Investigations into Han's activities began in November 2004 when police in Yunnan seized 206 kilograms of heroin in two teakwood-loaded trucks coming from Myanmar.

A year later, the police authorities from China, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand destroyed Han's drug-trafficking network, seizing 383 kilograms of heroin, 36 guns, six rocket launchers, 33 grenades, 1,586 bullets and two transmitter-receivers in Myanmar.

Han was arrested on September 22, 2005 in Huaphan Province of Laos and repatriated back to China.

(Xinhua News Agency January 19, 2007)

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