Saturday, June 10, 2006

Shanghai's drug addict population rising fast

China Daily

Shanghai - Authorities in Shanghai have reported that there are more than 24,000 drug addicts in the city, an increase of 17 per cent year-on-year.

During a recent press conference by Shanghai Municipal Anti-Drug Commission, it was revealed that increasing numbers of rich and well-educated people are becoming addicts.

However, young people still make up 60 per cent of the group.

"Increasingly bad" was the verdict on the current situation of Zhu Ying, vice-director of the commission.

He also said that more varieties of drugs were coming from more places, and drug-related crime was becoming a more serious threat.

In the first three months of 2005 alone, police in Shanghai arrested 435 suspects in 376 cases of drug- related crime, seized 36 kilograms of drugs of different types, and confiscated more than 350,000 yuan (US$43,000) of drug dealing revenues.

Figures from courts in the city show that drug trafficking has become the third most common crime in the city, constituting more than 8 per cent of all prosecuted crimes.

Property violation and personal injury are the most frequent crimes.

However, drug trafficking leads to other crimes, officials said.

On September 23, 2005, police from Qingpu District Department of Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau arrested two men who robbed three taxi drivers to finance their addictions.

According to Zhu, organized drug trafficking involving foreigners is on the rise. In 2005, 33 foreigners were arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking, five times the number in 2004.

In one case on August 16, 2005, Shanghai police arrested a Malaysian man, as well as two people from Hong Kong, from a local hotel, and confiscated above 50 kilograms of ketamine. The investigation led to the arrest of another Malaysian.

Another worrying trend is that drug rings are becoming better armed. The commission said that weapons, bullets and high-tech anti-surveillance equipment were confiscated during many drug ring raids.

On September 10, 2005, more than 10 guns and anti-detection devices were found in a raid, during which a large amount of new types of drug were confiscated.

With more drugs being transported and consumed in the city, police have vowed to increase their efforts.

They will conduct stricter and more frequent raids on entertainment venues suspected of drug dealing later this year. Detailed plans were not available.

Further to this, police will work more closely with communities to build up a rehabilitation network to help drug users and addicts.

By Cao Li


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