Photo by H. Graham Smith
It seems China’s drug problems are increasing. Lately, there have been quite a few incidents involving drugs. Only this month we reported about Shanghai’s synthetic drug users getting younger, a meth scandal involving North Korea and Yanji, and Shanghais drug cases generally being on the rise.
What’s also on the rise is the percentage of foreigners smuggling drugs. Since 2009, 30 percent of drug smuggling cases handled by Shanghai No 1 Intermediate People’s Court involved foreign defendants.
This is 12 times higher compared to 2006. Most of them were impoverished people from Southeast Asia, South Asia and Eastern Europe and paid to bring drugs into China by air, so-called mules. Especially women from Southeast Asian and African countries were used as mules.
As the Beijing Higher People’s Court reported:
“The proportion of female foreigners among all the foreign defendants in drug trafficking cases also rose from nine per cent to 30 per cent over the past few years.”
In May 2009 Lam Thi Kim Dong, a Vietnamese woman, was sentenced to 15 years in prison and ordered to be deported. She was carrying 204 bags of white powder hidden in the buttons of four dresses in her luggage that turned out to be 582.9 grams of powder containing 48.63 percent heroin. The woman claimed that she had smuggled the items because she needed the money.
Shanghai No 1 Intermediate People’s Court claims that most of the smuggled drugs, usually brought into the country on flights from Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Phnom Penh, Istanbul and Dubai, were destined for countries other than China but that there is a new trend of foreign drug smugglers starting to trade drugs inside China.
By Nele Diels