Guangdong man produced 12.36 tonnes of the designer drug, says prosecution An alleged mainland drug lord linked to the largest seizure of the designer drug Ice in the world went on trial in Guangzhou yesterday with eight others accused of being accomplices. Chen Bingxi , 49, and his wife, Chen Baoyu , 44, were accused of producing and trafficking 12.36 tonnes of Ice from January to October 1999. They were also charged with fraud and smuggling. The case is said to be the biggest in the world involving the drug. The amount seized matched total seizures in the rest of the world in 1999, the Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court was told yesterday. The authorities said the seizure was valued at US$5.5 billion. Six mainlanders working for Chen were also charged with drug trafficking. Hong Kong resident Chan Yan-chong, 59, was charged with fraud and money laundering. The prosecutor alleged that Chen teamed up with another drug lord, Liu Zhaohua , in about 1998 to produce and sell Ice in Guangdong. Liu was arrested in Fujian earlier this month. The two first set up a drug plant, disguised as a handbag factory, in Chen's home town of Puning in Guangdong. But the factory aroused suspicions after the death of fish in nearby ponds. Liu and Chen relocated to Yinchuan , the capital of Ningxia . The finished product was transported to a warehouse in Guangzhou, the court heard. Police discovered the warehouse in 1999 when searching for another drug dealer. Officers seized 11.08 tonnes of Ice and, later, 1.28 tonnes in Puning. Chen fled to Thailand via Vietnam with his wife in November 1999. He asked Chan to adopt his two sons and take them to Hong Kong as his own children. The two boys became Hong Kong residents in 2000. The drug lord transferred US$1 million and HK$7 million to Chan. Mainland police tracked down the couple in 2003 when Chen ordered an associate to transfer 12 million yuan to Thailand from Hong Kong. They were returned to the mainland in December 2003. The defendants pleaded not guilty yesterday. According to Xinhua, Chen said he had never even been to Ningxia. He also claimed Liu was the mastermind of the scheme and he had thought that the factory was producing spices. Chan, originally from Puning, said police had forced him to adopt Chen's children in exchange for granting a one-way permit to his mainland daughter. Chan also denied that he had helped Chen launder money. He said he had not known Chen was involved in drug trafficking and only helped him to transfer money out of goodwill. Several alleged mainland accomplices in the case claimed police had used force to extort confessions. The trial continues today.