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Drug Crimes By Foreigners in China Up 17%, Guangdong A Particular Problem

Posted: 06/26/2014 2:18 pm

Foreigners are committing more drug crimes in China, and it appears Guangdong is one of their favorite spots to operate. There has been a 17% increase in drug-related crimes by foreigners across the country in the past year, with police focusing on Guangdong as a particular problem, reported China Daily.

Liu Yuejin, director of the narcotics control bureau for the Ministry of Public Security, described the drug problem:

“Due to high market demand, the desire for profits, and loose management, foreign drug gangs are active in southern China, including Guangdong and Yunnan provinces and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region,”

READ: Drug Sting At Hotel in Guangzhou Nets 10 Foreigners

There were 1,491 drug-related crimes involving foreigners last year in China, a year-on-year increase of 15.4%. This lead to the arrests of 1,963 foreign drug suspects, an increase of 17.3% from the year before.

Liu said the majority of foreign suspects are of African origin, and they tend to smuggle heroin from the Golden Crescent (consisting of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan) or marijuana and cocaine from Africa and South America.

Cui Qingchao, deputy director of the Guangzhou customs anti-smuggling department, said foreign traffickers are able to cheaply purchase methamphetamine in the Guangdong cities of Lufeng and Jieyang.

READ: Nigerian Man Caught Using Chinese Girlfriend to
Smuggle Drugs Out of Guangdong

Cui said that some African drug suspects serve as “agents” for Pakistani drug lords. Cui goes on to say,

“After obtaining drugs from these drug lords, they usually hire foreign traffickers who hide the drugs in their bodies or luggage. They take the drugs to Beijing and Shanghai or send them to Guangdong and other provinces through express mail services.”

Despite language barriers and a predisposition to commit violence posed by these foreigners, Liu said authorities will increase supervision of foreign residents, especially in Guangdong.


Photos: Georgia Expunge


Drug-Riddled Guangdong Town Presents Challenge to Police

Posted: 06/25/2014 8:00 am

A police raid on Boshe village in December, 2013.

Like other Chinese provinces, Guangdong often launches ill-fated campaigns against corruption, prostitution or terrorism. While some campaigns enjoy moderate levels of success, when it comes to the drug trade, attempts at intervention have been less than stellar. Not to put too fine a point on it, the province’s Deputy Police Chief recently admitted that he is unable to eradicate drug production in Lufeng.

READ: Drug Sting at Hotel in Guangzhou Nets 10 Foreigners

“It will take arduous work over a long period to solve the problem of Lufeng. We are trying to use high-handed measures to clamp down on its drug trade. We hope to see a turning point in the second half of the year,” said Guo Shaobo, Deputy Head of Guangdong Police Department, China News reported.

Locally known as “the fortress”, Lufeng is responsible for one-third of all crystal meth production in China.

READ: Two Middle Eastern Men Swallow RMB 2.25 Million Worth of Drugs,
Arrive in Shenzhen

Located on the coast of the South China Sea, Lufeng is notorious for its meth production. The city’s stronghold of Boshe village, nestled deep in the mountains, provides the perfect hideout for the family-run meth empire.

Suspects run at the first sign of police, while villagers intently watch for any movement on city outskirts. In some cases, villagers organize road barricades to block police from entering, Yangcheng Evening News reported.

The drug trade is an open secret in the village, given that the party chief and some corrupt police officials shield its drug production. In fact, the party chief was named the “biggest drug trafficker” in the region. More than one-fifth of all households are linked to drug production or trafficking, which is the only profitable livelihood for many villagers.

READ: Cops Surround KTV in Dongguan and Arrest 1,000 in Ketamine Raid

Still, even to some experienced policemen, the extent of the village’s drug operation remains shocking. In December 2013, a massive police raid involving more than 3,000 policemen, using helicopters and speedboats, seized three tons of crystal meth and 23 tons of raw materials, South China Morning Post reported.

According to Guo, authorities in Guangdong have seized a total of 14.1 tons of drugs, with a street value of nearly RMB 160 million, since launching “Operation Thunder” in July 2013. The province has busted 320 criminal drug rings, arrested 20,403 people and dismantled 361 drug production bases. In addition to the traditionally known drugs, new drug varieties are surfacing, such as a new drug called Khat or African Tea.

Even with those impressive statistics, the Deputy Police Chief is less than optimistic about his department’s ability to stem the flow of drugs into Guangdong.


Photos: SCMP, China News


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


The Spin Doctor – The War on Drugs, “Slave Ambient”

Posted: 08/13/2011 9:47 am

The War on Drugs – “Slave Ambient” (Secretly Canadian)

3.6 out of 5

Songwriting relationships are no different from any other relationship; they are formed with the assumption that their combined strengths and weaknesses will create a greater, more cohesive whole. Thus, it goes without saying, that when one partner begins to outshine the other, internal strife may occur, and break-ups might follow. This dynamic makes Philadelphia-based band The War on Drugs an intriguing case study.

Formed in 2005, the band was founded by principal songwriters Adam Granduciel and Kurt Vile. After self-releasing a demo EP, appropriately titled Demo EP, they were signed to Secretly Canadian, who released the band’s 2007 Barrel of Batteries EP as well as their 2008 debut LP, Wagonwheel Blues. While Wagonwheel Blues was an impressively cohesive debut, internally the band was experiencing some significant growing pains. Vile’s solo material began to grow in popularity and resulted in his leaving the band and signing with Matador Records in 2009. When drummer/organist Charlie Hall and drummer Kyle Lloyd departed soon after, Granduciel and bassist Dave Hartley were left to pick up the pieces. Yet, while many might have believed that Vile was the creative force behind the band, Granduciel has proven otherwise. Maintaining Wagonwheel Blues’ classic rock leanings while replacing its lo-fi tape hiss with glossier production, organ drones, saxophone and stronger shoegaze influences, Slave Ambient is an impressive step forward for a band that, by all accounts, imploded.

There are a variety of genres that might explain The War on Drugs’ unique sound, yet “Dylan-gaze” or “Springsteen-sheen” might be the most apt. As Granduciel makes no attempt to deny these influences, I may as well be frank: his voice sounds remarkably like Bob Dylan. In case you thought it’s some sort of studio trickery, it’s not. I had the opportunity to catch the band earlier this year when they opened for Destroyer and, from the first note, Granduciel was a dead-ringer for late 60’s Dylan, albeit an incarnation of him drowned in digital reverb and early Sonic Youth. “Been a soldier from the start, been released and blown apart. I’ve been inside the only stone that’s been raging,” sings Granduciel on album opener “Best Night”. The track has a wonderfully worn, sunburst sheen. Full of organ flourishes, acoustic guitar, some fantastic electric guitar leads and even faint brass, “Best Night” takes its sweet time in unfolding before drifting off into the distance around the five and a half minute mark. Minus the religious iconography, there are more than a few similarities between the arrangement on “Best Night” and Dylan’s “Precious Angel”. Most notably, Granduciel has some impressive guitar leads, reminiscent of Mark Knopfler’s playing on Dylan’s “Precious Angel”. “Brothers” paradoxically turns up the shoegaze dial and yet somehow has the most distinct Dylan vocal on the record. Here Granduciel really exaggerates eeeeeach and eeeeeevery vooooowel: “Looking out from somewhere, I’ve been thinking, I’ve been rolling past the seas. Wondering where my friends are going, and wondering why they didn’t take me.”

The War on Drugs doesn’t stop at Dylan. Elsewhere, the arrangements are uncannily Springsteen-esque. This is most apparent on the marching “Baby Missiles”, where E-Street synth swirls, a driving drum measure and the Boss’ vocal pacing play like an early E-Street demo right down to Granduciel’s harmonica solo and Springsteen’s trademark “woo, woos” lifted from Born in the U.S.A.’s “I’m on Fire”.

Slave Ambient contains four instrumental interludes, and though the effect was well utilized on Wagonwheel Blues, here, the results are mixed. The synth drones, saxophone and ambient textures on “The Animator” act as the perfect precursor to stand-out “Come to the City”. The former bleeds into the latter, bringing a sense of urgency to Granduciel’s vocals and the building percussion. Elsewhere however, the interludes present as unnecessary baggage and disrupt the flow of the record (there’s no reason “Original Slave” needed to be crammed between “Baby Missiles” and the fantastic album closer “Black Water Falls”).

While the aforementioned tracks present a unique modern twist on shoegaze, Americana and classic rock, at 12 tracks and almost 47 minutes, the saturated production and constant synth/organ droning results in a sameness that is ultimately Slave Ambient’s undoing. While Slave Ambient is undoubtedly a better record than its predecessor, the more stripped approach of Wagonwheel Blues allowed for greater variance and more room for Granduciel to breathe. That said, the mere release of this record feels like an achievement and as a result of the significant line-up change, should by all intents and purposes be considered a debut rather than a sophomore release. That being the case, I’m willing to cut Granduciel some slack; he’s clearly directing the ship in an interesting direction.

Read previous Spin Doctor reviews here

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