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July 25, 2013

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Narcotic plants, hazardous weeds seized in Shanghai

LOCAL entry-exit officials said yesterday that banned plants, including khat, a mildly narcotic plant widely consumed in Africa, and hazardous weeds, were for the first time seized in international delivery and passenger's luggage in Shanghai.

The seized khat, weighing 5.76 kilograms, was discovered in the luggage case of a passenger who arrived on a flight from Dubai on July 2. The X-ray caught three bundles of plant products that looked similar to vegetables but were later found to be khat.

Khat is a plant native to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula and is classified as a drug of abuse that can produce mild to moderate psychological dependence. It contains cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant, which can cause excitement, loss of appetite and euphoria.

In some African countries, chewing khat has a long history as a social custom dating back thousands of years. But it is banned in China, officials said.

In a separate case, inspectors seized bromus rigidus roth, a harmful weed that can severely affect the growth of crops, from a batch of Australia-imported oats and barleys on July 9.

The weed had been seized in original grease imported from Australia before but this was the first time it was discovered in Shanghai, officials said.


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