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Huge Shipment of Khat Seized in Guangdong

Posted: 06/23/2014 5:54 pm

khat bustGuangzhou customs recently announced that they have seized 2,069 kg of smuggled drugs since October of last year. As impressive as that is, it pales in comparison to the recent one-day haul made by Huangpu custom agents who say they have seized a shipment of khat that weighs an amazing 3,531 kg, reports the Dongguan Times.

If you’re unfamiliar with khat, which is also known by the names “Arabian Tea” or “Bushman’s Tea”, the Guangzhou police want you to be aware that this drug is equivalent to heroin and has a euphoric high that lasts for two days.

Described as relatively new to China, the emergence of khat is troubling to local law officials because the drug looks like amaranth greens when fresh, and like dried tea leaves when dried.

READ: Meet the New Drug on the Streets of Guangzhou: Khat, the “Arabian Tea”

Khat received lots of attention recently when it was reported the drug was being packaged in orange drink powder packages with cartoon images on the front.

Khat is considered a way of life for some cultures though it is considered a prohibited substance in countries like the USA and the UK. The World Health Organization does not consider khat to be seriously addictive.

khat bust


Photo: Dongguan Daily Report


Foreigner Caught Smuggling Live Birds in His Jeans at Guangzhou Airport [UPDATE]

Posted: 06/9/2014 8:00 am

bird smuggle guangzhou airport

Never underestimate the extent a pet owner will go to shield his beloved pet from Guangzhou’s air pollution.

On June 6, Guangzhou Baiyuan Airport security guards discovered a very creative way of smuggling by finding two live birds in a pair of jeans.

A foreigner was at the security check before boarding a plane to Singapore when security guards noticed the cuffs of his trouser legs were suspiciously bloated. A search revealed two hidden birds wrapped in white cloth, Yangcheng Evening News reported.

When asked the motive behind the smuggling operation, the foreigner said he was planning to take his birds to Singapore due to Guangzhou’s bad air quality. Unfortunately, the airline he chose does not allow live animals on board, and the poor guy now has to get one of his friends to send the birds to Singapore for him, hopefully with less hassle.

For now, his two little birds have to endure more of Guangzhou’s bad air.

UPDATE: 6:38pm June 6: The foreigner suspected of smuggling in this story has been identified as 43 year-old Naum Pokrovsky, reports the Moscow Times.

Home page and content page image: Yangcheng Evening News 


Zhuhai Customs Seize Four Tons of Endangered Pangolins

Posted: 05/14/2014 1:39 pm

smuggled pangolin endangered species illegalCustom agents in Zhuhai, Guangdong made a seizure of approximately four tons of smuggled pangolin on May 12, reports the Yangcheng Evening Report.

Acting on a tip, police stopped a truck on the pronvicial highway near Guangchang and seized 956 frozen pangolin carcasses, each individually bubble wrapped and housed in 189 cases.

pangolinThe pangolin, also known as the scaly anteater, is classified as a type-2 endangered animal in China, and no trade in pangolin species is permitted under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

Dan Challender, an expert in the species at the University of Kent in Britain, states there is a belief pangolin consumption will stimulate lactation for breast-feeding mothers, or serve to help patients recover from asthma or cancer.

“The overarching narrative for pangolin trade is that the Chinese population of pangolins has suffered dramatic declines over the last 20 years at least,” Challender said. “But at the same time an even more contemporary trend is that source has shifted west. There’s now trade coming from India, Nepal and Pakistan.”

Pangolins are reported to command a price of RMB 100 in Southeast Asia, after which will rise three to five times by the time it reaches black markets in Guangdong.smuggled pangolin endangered species illegal

Photos: Yangcheng Evening Report, Cutest Paw


Meet the New Drug on the Streets of Guangzhou: Khat, the “Arabian Tea”

Posted: 04/25/2014 4:43 pm

khat arabian tea drug illegal smuggling

The hottest drug on the streets of Guangzhou right has gotten a lot of attention from police, officials, media and parents. Called khat, or by its colloquial names “Arabian Tea” or “Bushman’s Tea“, police are warning the public that it is the equivalent to heroin and its euphoria high will last for two days.

An exhibit called “Reject Drugs, Cherish Life” in Yuexiu District gives the lowdown on the heinous drug that first infiltrated China’s last year through the criminal underground. The exhibit tells us the drug can be consumed by chewing upon the fresh leaves of the catha edulis plant, by drying its leaves and consuming it as a tea, or by grinding the dried leaves into a powder which is then dissolved into water for drinking.

The exhibit goes on to say khat is an extremely addictive drug that produces excitement and hallucinations in its user. Originally from Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, the drug has recently been classified as a nationally-prohibited drug in China that is quickly proliferating in part to its cheap street price: 500 yuan for 500 grams of fresh khat leaves, and 200 yuan for 500 grams of dried khat leaves.

The other reason that has helped spread this drug in China is that khat is so hard to detect. In its form as fresh cut leaves, khat has an appearance exactly like that of amaranth greens/Chinese spinach. In its dried form, khat looks just like the dried green tea leaves that every average Chinese drinks from a huge flask full of hot water every day.

An unidentified worker with the “Reject Drugs, Cherish Life” revealed the depravity of the khat drug ring that plagues Guangzhou through one given example:

“Last year, police uncovered a major khat smuggling ring and its users on Guangyuan Road. Throughout the building lived people of African nationality along with massive amounts of khat. There was an integrated chain of service and use between the drug dealers and users. And, police put an end to this drug hive.”

Community leaders are very concerned about khat’s effect upon the impressionable youth of China. An initiative to warn children about the dangers of khat called “The Little Red Bell“ have been making the rounds in China. khat arabian tea drug illegal smuggling

The concern for the welfare of children intensified recently after police in Jiujiang, Jiangxi Province made a startling discovery on April 23. At a drug arrest at a hotel, police found khat packaged in 60 orange drink powder packages with cartoon packaging. The drug is said to dissolve in water, and taste and smell just the same as any other refreshing drink a child would have.

Well, it’s not Krokodil, but to Chinese, it might as well be.

Khat invites controversial opinions from different people. While the use of khat is considered a way of life for generations of people in Somalia, Ethiopia and Yemen, khat is considered a prohibited substance in countries such as the United States, and was only recently banned in the UK on July 2013. The global spread of khat has to do with the migrations of Africans that use it.

The World Health Organization does not consider khat to be seriously addictive, and has been likened by some “to be like coffee“. However, HuffPo alleges that every monetary aspect of the khat market supports the al-Shabaab terrorist group in Somalia.

Photo: Hexun, 10yan


Report uncovers unlicensed stores selling smuggled, fake over-the-counter drugs

Posted: 04/8/2014 7:44 pm

Residents of Guangzhou that are concerned about the food they are eating may also want to start paying attention to the over the counter medication they are taking.

A report by Nandu has delved into the grey morass that are stores in Guangzhou that are selling popular Hong Kong medicines and products, but are going outside established guidelines. Their report detailed three main discrepancies that suggest something sinister is going on with the selling of these products:

Price discrepancies: Popular medical products that can’t be found in convenience stores have found a niche in “Hong Kong import stores” in which goods said to be imported line the shelves. However, prices for Wood Lock Medicated Balm (黄道益活络油) can range wildly in price from 30 to 50 yuan. A store named “Huimei” is selling the balm for 38 yuan, while it’s competitor is selling it for 58 yuan. Another popular product called Bo Ying Compound (余仁生保婴丹) normally costs 82 yuan in convenience stores, but can reach prices of 108 yuan, making a difference of about 26 yuan

No certification: All stores in China need a certificate of authorization to sell such medical products, something that many of these “Hong Kong import stores” lack. When confronted with such a question, one store manager responded with:

The drugs we sell aren’t western drugs; those require a prescription. Chinese prepared medicine are those that can be taken by anyone. This is the reason why we don’t need a certificate.

Source of goods unknown: Details point to these goods being either smuggled or counterfeit, a point proven to be the latter in two recent cases uncovered by authorities in Zhuhai.

Consumers looking to stay away from buying smuggled or counterfeit goods should make purchases from licensed stores selling goods at fixed prices.

Photo: Nandu


Nigerian man caught using Chinese girlfriend to smuggle drugs out of Guangdong

Posted: 03/26/2014 8:58 am

It’s often hard to find someone with that special something that draws you towards him or her. But that was not the case for a Nigerian man caught by police in Guangzhou for drug trafficking. He knew exactly what he was looking for in a girlfriend – a perfect drug mule.

According to a report by China News, the Nigerian man, whose name was not disclosed in the report, deliberately sought Chinese women as girlfriends and lured them to help him smuggle drugs by mailing packages of drugs abroad, the report said.

In order to further reduce police suspicion, the drug dealer would ask his girlfriend to send a package from Zhuhai instead of Guangzhou where he lives.

The Nigerian man was arrested after police officers at Gongbei Customs Department seized a mail package containing more than 600 grams of crystal meth sent from Zhuhai to Malaysia in January this year. After a two month investigation, the couple was arrested at an apartment they shared in Baiyuan district in Guangzhou on March 18.

This, however, is not the first time a drug dealer used Chinese girlfriends to cover his drug trail. In 2006, a Nigerian man in Guangzhou was sentenced to death for dealing drugs. His Chinese girlfriend also received a death penalty with a two-year reprieve for assisting the illegal trade, China Daily reported in 2006.

Home page photo credit: CBC


Guy busted smuggling dozens of iPhones into Shenzhen (video)

Posted: 03/5/2012 5:18 pm

If there was an award for being able to walk normally with pounds and pounds of electronic devices attached to your body, this guy would be a shoe-in to win.

A video has surfaced showing a man crossing the border from Hong Kong to Shenzhen with dozens (some say hundreds, but we can’t say for sure) of iPhones strapped to his body.  We also aren’t sure exactly which border crossing this is, but it looks like Lo Wu.

The video shows the man being pulled aside and iPhones removed from his body.

Mainland Chinese stocking up on iDevices in Hong Kong is not a new phenomenon, of course, but rarely do we get such vivid video evidence.  With the iPad 3 slated to be unveiled Thursday morning China time, customs agents will likely have a lot more of these shenanigans to put up with in the days and weeks ahead.

(h/t 9to5Mac)

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