Chinese city barbecues 4 tonnes of illegal drugs as crime rate soars

Massive haul of heroin, methamphetamine, opium and other substances takes five hours to incinerate at public event

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 June, 2018, 2:52pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 June, 2018, 4:41pm

Authorities in a southwestern Chinese city burned almost 4 tonnes of illegal narcotics on Monday in a bid to raise public awareness of the perils of drug use amid a sharp rise in related crime.

The publicity stunt was held in Lincang, Yunnan province, as part of a national campaign to mark International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which fell on Tuesday, local news website Thepaper.cn reported.

A total of 3.95 tonnes of narcotics, including heroin, methamphetamine and opium, were ceremonially incinerated in 40 large metal pans. Such was the size of the haul, it took about five hours to burn, the report said.

More than 2.2 tonnes of the drugs had been confiscated by border defence police in Lincang over the past two years.

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The city is close to the Golden Triangle, a roughly defined area where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet, and which is notorious for drug production.

Drug crime has been on the rise in Lincang and local authorities are keen to combat it. This year alone, police and other law enforcement officials have cracked 281 cases and seized almost 1.3 tonnes of illegal narcotics, the report said. Both figures are the highest on record for the period.

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In an article published in the state newspaper People’s Daily on Monday, Public Security Minister Zhao Kezhi acknowledged the government’s concerns about the use of narcotics and rise in related offences.

“The drug problem in China has spread, and drug-related crime has also entered a high growth period,” he said.

At a press conference on Monday, deputy justice minister Liu Zhiqiang said that over the past decade more than 1.3 million drug users had been sent to government-run rehabilitation centres for compulsory detoxification.