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June 21, 2011

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1 in 3 drugs cases involves foreigners

DRUG cases involving foreign defendants accounted for more than one third of all drug cases handled by a local appeal court over the past two and a half years, judges said yesterday.

The Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court has dealt with 158 drug cases since 2009. Of these, 55 involved foreign defendants, according to court statistics.

Zhang Zhijie, a chief judge of the criminal court under the appeal court, said foreign defendants, mainly from southeast Asia, south Asia and eastern Europe, were hired to smuggle drugs.

"They carried drugs in various covert ways, such as hiding drugs in buttons and slippers," Zhang said. "In addition to smuggling drugs, some foreign defendants also sold drugs in our country."

The drugs mainly came through Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

On November 5, 2010, a Nigerian man who arrived at the Pudong International Airport from Doha in Qatar was caught with nearly 2 kilograms of cocaine and heroin in a batch of bearings.

Though the Nigerian claimed he knew nothing about the drugs, the court ruled that he did, as he had no evidence to prove he had been cheated.

The Nigerian was sentenced to death with reprieve of two years for smuggling drugs.

In two separate cases, in late 2009, two Vietnamese women were caught at the airport with heroin hidden in the buttons of clothes and slippers.

They claimed they had been hired to take the clothes and slippers samples to China. Though they thought it strange that so much should be spent to carry such cheap items, they agreed because they needed the money.

The Vietnamese women were both jailed for 15 years.


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