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Drug smuggler caught with too many buttons

HEROIN hidden in buttons was the latest ruse used by a drug smuggler caught coming into Shanghai.

Officials released details of the drugs bust when they announced that they had seized 150 kilograms of drugs since last July, 7.3 times that of the previous 12 months.

In the latest case, Customs officers caught a Vietnamese woman trying to smuggle in 583 grams of heroin.

She arrived in Shanghai on May 31 on a flight from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to Pudong International Airport.

Customs officers became suspicious when she became evasive about the purpose of her trip.

An X-ray check of her handbag showed a number of round objects.

Inside there were only four Southeast Asian folk costumes in addition to some travel necessities. All seemed quite normal until the officers noticed the large number of buttons.

One of them was cut open and white powder, which turned out to be heroin, was found inside. The 204 buttons on the costumes contained 583 grams of the drug.

"Drug smugglers are trying more secret ways to smuggle more kinds of drugs," said Lu Xiangqing, director of the publicity department of Shanghai Customs.

The number of cases dealt with since last July was 40, 2.6 times the number uncovered compared with the same period the year before.

Customs officials said there were two major factors behind the increase.

The global financial crisis had led to an increase in unemployment in some countries and the price of heroin on the domestic market had been rising constantly.


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