At around 4am on Sunday, Guangdong police busted a drug-fueled rave under an overpass near the Shenzhen IKEA, taking hundreds into custody and detaining 50 foreigners after drug tests.
Nanshan district police reported on Weibo that 491 people altogether had been investigated, with 118 testing positive for drug use, namely marijuana. 93 have been thrown in detention for up to 15 days, 50 among them foreigners. Additionally, police have charged two suspected dealers, also foreign.
Rising drug use in China has called for a crackdown on the part of public security officials. A police officer shared that the raid in Nanshan District, in addition to a few in Shekou, were carried out under a “special operation by the municipal bureau” and planned beforehand. “Foreigners accounted for over half of the detainees, which suggests a serious problem of drug use among foreigners in Shenzhen,” another officer lamented.
Meanwhile, the foreigners weren’t too happy about the situation either. One such individual investigated in the IKEA Bridge raid, an American who declined to be named, complained about being treated like a prisoner of war in the chaos of the drug bust, reports Shenzhen Daily.
“It was like a stampede. My friend almost got run over. If it was more people someone could have definitely got hurt,” said the unnamed man, who was released by 11am Sunday — but not before being thoroughly tested by police. “They made sure it was my pee, by literally looking at me do it,” he groused.
“I feel like this is a way to send a signal to the expat community,” the man summarized.
Narcotics control official Deng Guangsheng confirmed that Shenzhen, being so close to Hong Kong and Macau, is a prime breeding ground for cross-border drug smuggling.
Indeed, the WeChat notice for the IKEA Bridge party had reportedly advertised a performance by a well-known Hong Kong DJ. The Tunnel Rave has been occurring monthly for the last few years and is openly promoted on social media.
On Weibo, netizens were unsympathetic to those caught up in the raid, calling those present “foreign trash” and wondering if information about their employers will be released.
According to the National Narcotics Control Commission, last year drug-related arrests in China were up 20% at 1,062,000, and half of that number comprised new offenders, a 14.6% increase from 2014, reports SCMP.
In addition, arrests of drug dealing rings were up 18% and numbering over 5,800, among them nearly 1,500 foreigners hailing from 39 countries, including nearby Myanmar and Vietnam. For authorities, the party scene is cause for concern — Futian police suspect that the deaths of two young expats in December were linked to drug use.
By the end of last year, there were more than 2.3 million drug users in China, 60% in the 18-35 age bracket. But police won’t be calling it a day, so we can likely all look forward to many more raids in future.
[Images via Sina]