Breaking Bad in China: star science graduate ‘becomes’ international drug dealer
A Chinese former science graduate arrested by police is allegedly the mainland’s real-life version of Walter White, the fictional character in the US television series, Breaking Bad, who turns to crime by making and selling drugs, mainland media reports.
Police have accused Wang Bo, 33, from Huanggang, in Hubei province, of being the “core” member of a criminal gang producing and distributing drugs designed to mimic established stimulants to countries including Spain, the Netherlands and Poland, China Youth Daily reported on Friday.
He had allegedly earned about 10 million yuan from selling the drugs since 2014, the report said.
Wang’s outstanding talent as a high school student led to him being admitted to a prestigious Beijing university in 2001, where he studied for a degree in chemical and molecular sciences, the report said.
He had then returned to his hometown in 2014 and launched his own biological technology company.
He first came to the attention of the police in March, after it was discovered that processed chemicals in one of laboratories at his factory, including sulphuric acid and hydrochloric acid, had not been registered.
Police then began to carry out further inquiries into his background and his activities, the report said.
They found that Wang and his wife, Wu Yun, 29 – who were arrested at one of his laboratories on June 8 – had met while they were both working at a Shanghai medical company.
It was while in Shanghai that they allegedly first became aware of the huge profits earned from sales of psychoactive substances. These drugs are designed to mimic established illicit substances – including cathinone, which is similar to the stimulant ephedrine.
They also became aware of the huge overseas demand for such drugs, the report said.
The couple had then quit their jobs in Shanghai and returned to Huanggang, where they had allegedly recruited a team to help them make and sell these drugs.
Wang had allegedly posted adverts on foreign websites looking for buyers, while Wu had reportedly bought raw materials and organised workers to carry out the mass production, the newspaper report said.
Wang and his team allegedly sold drugs abroad weighing up to 630kg using express delivery mail services and had earned profits of about 10 million yuan since 2014, China Youth Daily said.
China listed more than 100 new psychoactive substances on its list of controlled drugs in 2015.
At that time the deputy president of the national narcotics control committee said that some drug dealers were taking advantage of the grey area between controlled and uncontrolled substances in China by producing drugs in the Yangtze River Delta region, as well as selling them abroad, the state-run news website People.cn reported.