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June 2, 2011

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Drug dealers hide wares among food and drink

LOCAL drug dealers have taken to trafficking their goods hidden in food and drink products, city authorities said yesterday.

In a bid to evade police, dealers are secreting drugs in the packaging of huangjiu - yellow wine, a Chinese liquor - or among coffee and health products, according to the Shanghai Anti-Drug Office.

This is in addition to other popular methods of transporting drugs, such as inside the bodies or luggage of traffickers or delivered using mail and courier services.

Wang Jun, head of the Anti-Drug Office, said 78.2 percent of drug cases in 2010 involved drug smuggling, trafficking, selling and manufacturing. In the first four months of this year, the percentage was 80 percent for the same offences.

The amount of drugs Shanghai police confiscated from January to April increased by one-third year-on-year, although the number of drug cases was similar.

During that period, 809 drug cases were reported and 157.41 kilograms of drugs seized - 33 percent more than the same period of last year. And 17 of the 809 cases involved seizures of at least 1kg of drugs, said Wang.

In a major operation last month, police busted an attempt to produce drugs, detaining 20 suspects and confiscating 41.6kg of drugs.

Wang also said the number of drug addicts is increasing, now standing at more than 30,000 people, of whom 27.3 percent are non-locals, 8 percentage higher than three years ago.

Some 321 drug users were reported for the first time in the first quarter, while the figure for the previous year was 217. The office did not provide an explanation for the increase.

Dong Ming, an officer dealing with drug cases, said about 80 percent of drug users from other parts of the country are unemployed and always on move. He said the authorities lack effective measures to reach and help them.

More than 90 percent of the city's drug addicts use heroin or similar drugs, which are the most expensive on the market, said Dong.


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