Six drug traffickers were executed yesterday as the Supreme People's Court sought to show its determination to curb the growing number of drug-related crimes. The court did not say where the traffickers were executed. Earlier in the week, four traffickers from Shanghai and Liaoning were put to death. A senior court official announced the executions yesterday morning in a high-profile press conference ahead of today's International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. 'Severely punishing the crime of drug trafficking has always been the stance of the Supreme People's Court,' the court's vice-president, Zhang Jun, said. Statistics provided by the court showed that drug-related crime has soared in recent years. Courts handled 43,726 drug-related cases last year, 31 per cent more than in 2007. They jailed 50,307 people, of whom more than 16,000 were given sentences of between five years and the death penalty. The trend has continued this year. From January to May, 14,282 drug-related cases were heard by courts nationwide, up 12 per cent from the same period last year, and 19,154 people were jailed. One of the most high-profile drug cases this year was the arrest of singer Man Wenjun and his wife, Li Li, in a Beijing bar on May 19. The pair were celebrating Li's 40th birthday with friends when police raided the bar and confiscated three kinds of drugs. Both Man and his wife managed to leave prison after a brief detention and posting bail, a move that drew widespread criticism over judicial standards. Mr Zhang, without addressing specific cases, said the judicial system had been trying to separate drug-related crimes into two categories. The first group, which will be given relatively light punishments, covers first-time offenders who break drug laws in small ways. The second group, which will come in for severe punishment, are drug traffickers, repeat offenders and those who use violence when arrested on drugs charges. All six people executed yesterday morning were in the second group, Mr Zhang said. 'The mix of different levels of punishment will help curb the spread of drug crime and separate the diehard traffickers from the majority,' he said. 'As a result, the policy could effectively stem drug crime at source and reduce the number of drug-related crimes in the long run.' Cross-border drug-trafficking has been rampant in the past decade in provinces such as Yunnan , Guangxi and Xinjiang, which share borders with Myanmar, Vietnam and Afghanistan respectively. There are also signs that traffickers have started to smuggle drugs into northern provinces through the Korean peninsula. The mainland has launched numerous campaigns against cross-border drug trafficking in the past decade but there are no signs the trade has been controlled.