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Probe into drug search of city's Saipan tourists
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The Shanghai Tourism Administrative Commission will investigate after more than 100 Shanghai tourists were searched for drugs on their arrival at Saipan Island.

The tourists were searched by the Drug Enforcement Administration of the United States as they arrived at Saipan Airport on the Pacific island about 200 kilometers north of Guam about 2am on Sunday, according to the World Daily issued in North America.

The newspaper said the tourists were suspected of carrying drugs. They were taken to a room and searched one by one. Their luggage was also searched thoroughly. No drug was found during the search, the newspaper said.

The search caused the tourists to fall behind schedule by at least three hours. The report said the tourists were furious, scared and felt insulted.

Some tourists complained to Century Tour, an organizer of the trip, that they would never visit the island again.

The DEA said they often search passengers on the US mainland but seldom on Saipan Island due to a lack of time and manpower, the newspaper reported. The commission said they would investigate the incident.

The tourists were organized by several Shanghai tour agencies. Shanghai Airlines International Travel Service Company said they had about 10 tourists on the plane, which belonged to Shanghai Airlines.

Officials said the tourists had since gone sightseeing on the island.

Shanghai Airlines International Travel Service Company general manager, Wang Yan, said the tourists were not ''furious'' as reported.

"The DEA received a report saying that drugs may be carried on the two planes arriving on the island that time, therefore they searched every passenger on the two planes, including the one carrying Shanghai tourists," Wang said.

"In fact, they did find drugs in another plane which belonged to another airline company."

Wang said the feedback to the company said the tourists showed understanding toward the searchers and were not upset.

"At the beginning they were stunned, but then they thought it was for the sake of safety and accepted it," he said.

(Shanghai Daily October 9, 2008)

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