In an interview with China Daily, the chief of the drug prohibition office of the Bureau of Public Security, Liu Yuejin 刘跃进, last week stated that 1,968 foreigners of 42 different nationalities were arrested in China on drug-related charges in 2013. A total of 5.9 tons of illicit drugs was also seized. Liu characterized this total as a significant uptick from that of 2012.
The majority of the arrests (1,488), was for smuggling drugs in China. According to Liu, criminal activity by foreigners related to drugs is mostly concentrated in Yunnan, Guangdong and Guangxi, and foreigners from Africa are particularly prominent in these criminal activities. Liu stated that several African criminal gangs have been set up in Guangzhou, and these gangs primarily peddle heroin, while importing cocaine from South America and marijuana from Africa and exporting methamphetamine.
The African gangs in Guangzhou, moreover, according to Liu, have in recent years also started to act as intermediaries between China and the Pakistani “golden crescent” heroine dealers, with the drugs often transiting through Dubai before reaching China.
Liu describes a few particular problems the police face when investigating these African gangs. One in particular is the language barrier. When communicating with each other, the gangs use languages like Igbo, Hausa, and Swahili, and investigative teams need to draft special members to be able to understand these languages.
A second problem faced by the police is in trying to capture suspects. Liu describes how many African nationals are physically strong and able to resist arrest or able to flee; while others appear strong but are actually ill and frail, with some suffering from high blood pressure, heart disease and AIDS.
Links and sources
Southcn.com: 公安部：2013年抓获1963名外籍毒犯 非洲籍最突出