Drug traffickers in the Golden Triangle are struggling to keep up with soaring demand in China, which now accounts for 90 percent of the lawless region’s heroin exports. David Eimer reports for the South China Morning Post:
“Prices are going up. At the moment, it’s 10 to 12 million kip (HK$10,000 to HK$12,000) for a kilo. Last year, it was eight to nine million kip,” said Ber Ko, a local man who describes himself as a “transporter of goods”.
A soaring appetite for heroin in mainland China, as well as in Hong Kong and Macau, is fuelling what Thailand’s deputy chief of police has called “happy hour” for the region’s drug traffickers. Almost 90 per cent of heroin from the Golden Triangle is exported to China.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) believes China – including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan – now consumes 70 per cent of all the heroin used in the East Asia and Pacific region. Such is the desire for the drug in China that the Golden Triangle can no longer produce enough to satisfy the unknown millions of addicts.
“We estimate that China uses around 65 tonnes of heroin annually and there’s not enough heroin in the Golden Triangle to meet that demand, so heroin from Afghanistan is coming in as well to supplement it,” said Tun Nay Soe, who monitors narcotics production in East Asia for the UNODC. That is despite opium production in the Golden Triangle doubling since 2006, according to the UNODC. [Source]
Eimer adds that while dealers are profiting greatly, farmers at the bottom of the food chain (such as the Ahka people of Laos) remain poor. As the number of drug cases continues to rise, China and ASEAN have stepped up their enforcement in the region. One of the top officials at China’s Narcotics Bureau pledged on Thursday to continue cooperating with Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and others to crack down on drug trafficking, according to China’s state-run Global Times:
Wei Xiaojun, deputy director-general of Narcotics Control Bureau of Ministry of Public Security of China, made the pledge at the first ASOD plus China Coordination Meeting here Thursday, which is part of the 34th ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Drug Matters (ASOD).
Wei said China is always open to anti-drug law enforcement cooperation with ASEAN member countries as well as Japan and South Korea to finally create a world free of drugs.
China National Narcotics Control Commission has been actively developing cooperation with counterparts from Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia in the field of intelligence exchange and joint law enforcement related to drug trafficking, Wei said.
Considerable large amount of drug manufacturers and trafficking cases have been uncovered, dozens of major drug lords arrested and a great deal of drugs, precursors and drug-related assets seized. [Source]