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January 6, 2010

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Couple turns to 'ice' to cover losses

A COUPLE has been arrested for allegedly producing "ice," or crystal methamphetamine, a kind of drug, in a bid to cover their business losses, Minhang District prosecutors said yesterday.

Police confiscated about 6 kilograms of solid ice and 36 kilograms of liquid ice in the couple's workshop on October 23 last year.

Prosecutors said the city is still testing the amount of the pure ice produced by the couple. According to the Criminal Law, drug producers will be given a sentence from 15 years to death if the produced ice exceeds 50 grams.

The husband, Wu Lian, 46, used to work in a state-owned scientific company after graduating from a science university.

He even got a city award for his scientific achievement.

He opened his own company in 2001. At first, the business earned him much money and real estate. But he began to lose money a few years ago and couldn't continue the business by the end of 2008.

"It wasn't enough to pay the debt even if I sold my two apartments and a workshop. I had to borrow money from the underground bank for debt payment," Wu told prosecutors. "A friend suggested that I should try to produce drugs with my professional knowledge. I decided to do this with my wife, hoping to get money to restart my business."

Shen Ju, Wu's wife, worried about this at first. Wu told her he would cooperate with a friend to sell drugs together and he would try drug production only once. Shen then agreed, prosecutors said.

Wu studied ice-production methods by checking books and searching on the Internet. On October 15, Shen allegedly spent 300,000 yuan (US$43,935) buying 30 kilograms of raw materials and the couple started ice production in a workshop he borrowed from a friend.

When asked what they were doing, the couple said they were producing detergent, prosecutors said.

The police, receiving tips, ambushed the couple on the night of October 23 last year.


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