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Hundreds nabbed for illegal drugs
From:Shanghai Daily  |  2020-06-24 08:29

Shanghai police arrested over 600 drug suspects in more than 500 cases in the first five months of this year, seizing 22.6 kilograms of drugs.

Yesterday’s announcement came ahead of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on Friday.

Last year, more than 2,400 suspects were arrested in over 1,700 cases and over 170 kilograms of drugs were seized.

The number of drug takers in Shanghai fell 11.5 percent last year compared with 2018, and 41.7 percent of all suspects in drug cases caught in 2019 were between 18 and 35, according to the police, adding younger drug users accounted for an increasingly large percentage.

This year, 38.7 percent of all drug users caught were taking drugs for the first time.

Methamphetamine accounted for 48.1 percent of all drugs seized by police last year, while other drugs included cocaine, marijuana and alprazolam, a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety.

Ninety-one percent of drugs seized came from other parts of the mainland and 9 percent from outside.

In Yangpu District, there is an increasing trend in drug crimes committed online over the past two and a half years, Yangpu District People’s Procuratorate said yesterday.

Nearly 40 percent of drug-related cases between 2018 and the first half of this year were committed via the Internet. Many involved cross-border trafficking with new drugs being mailed to China.

Of 365 drug crimes in Yangpu since 2018, 137 were connected to the Internet, according to prosecutors, with drug dealers using advanced network technologies for every step of the transaction chain, from initial contact to payment and supply.

Some dealers who bought drugs overseas used WeChat or domestic e-commerce sites to find customers.

In addition to traditional drugs such as opium and heroin, some new types of drug had become favorites with dealers and addicts.

They included foreign medicines which contain ingredients banned in China.

Dealers often disguise these drugs as common commodities. In one case, for example, a drug was mixed into drinks.

Online contacts and international deliveries make it difficult to trace the source of the drugs and traffickers who used virtual identities, prosecutors said.

They are calling for an improvement in collecting evidence online with support from the police and enhancing cooperation with departments including customs, frontier inspection, postal services and aviation.

In a recent case in Yangpu, a couple who bought a box of drinks containing drugs and a man who sold the drinks were sentenced to up to eight and a half years in jail for selling and transporting drugs.

Earlier this month, stand-up comedian Kamu was arrested in Shanghai for allegedly allowing others to take drugs.

The 25-year-old comedian had been reported by others and caught on April 30 taking drugs with others, police said.