Chinese man detained for selling 12,000 boxes of laughing gas on social media, including WeChat

Suspect said to have sold more than 12,000 boxes of the gas at US$3.60 each

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 December, 2017, 1:21pm
UPDATED : Friday, 05 January, 2018, 2:25pm

Police have detained a man in eastern China for selling thousands of boxes of nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas, through social media, the first case of its kind in the country.

Police found and confiscated about 800 boxes, each containing 10 canisters of the chemical, in his flat in Yunhe, Zhejiang province, in October, Procuratorial Daily reported. No details were given about how much nitrous oxide each canister contained.

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The man, surnamed Yin, would be charged with operating an illegal business, as nitrous oxide is categorised as a dangerous chemical and requires a special licence to market and sell, prosecutor Lei Limei was quoted as saying.

Yin is accused of selling more than 12,000 boxes of the gas at 24 yuan (US$3.60) apiece since he launched the business in May.

“He made more sales through WeChat than other online platforms,” Lei said.

Yin’s customers were mostly young people who made purchases after seeing his advertisements on social media.

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Often used as a substitute for drugs such as ecstasy and opium, nitrous oxide makes people feel euphoric and relaxed, but is known to cause a drop in oxygen levels, leading to dizziness and paralysis.

In May, a girl in Shanghai ended up in hospital after overdosing on 20 bottles of the chemical.

Lei said Chinese lawmakers should enforce stricter regulations on the sale and purchase of nitrous oxide.