Wuhan’s very own Walter White was sentenced to life in prison last week for making more than 4 million yuan a year manufacturing narcotics and selling them abroad, while keeping his day job as a chemistry professor.
After majoring in chemistry at a Wuhan university, the man surnamed Zhang went on to become an associate professor at the same university. While on a “research trip” to Australia, he allegedly discovered that psychoactive drugs were heavily in demand there, but hard to come by. Upon his return to China, he rented an 800-square meter production plant in Wuhan’s Jingxia District under the guise of medical coating and solvent production.
Managing his finances using Western Union and Bitcoin, the enterprising chemist mailed narcotics to the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia. He was in business for about a decade when in November 2014, customs officers seized at least nine of his parcels containing methylone, a commonly used substitute for MDMA or ecstasy.
Then, in June 2015, authorities raided Zhang’s lab, finding about 20 kg of drugs. Considering that police suspect he sold at least 193 kg of methylone in 2014, it seems he was pretty lucky. Last December, he was convicted in a local court of manufacturing and selling narcotics.
Zhang is not the only chemistry teacher in China who could star in a Chinese remake of Breaking Bad. In 2015, a 50-year-old former academic surnamed Lu, was prosecuted for producing and selling methcathinone. A raid in 2014 found Lu, along with six others, in possession of 128 kg of the methamphetamine-like drug.
In that same year, an ambitious teacher in Guangxi quit his thankless job to make meth out of his 3-bedroom apartment in Nanning. 31.5 kg of methamphetamine and 185 kg of toxic chemicals used to produce the drug were seized during a raid on his apartment.
There is nothing to suggest these cases are linked apart from the perpetrators obvious shared passion for American crime drama.
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