Police seize sky-rocketing amounts of “ice”, heroin

Friday, June 19, 2009
Issue 737, Page 5
Word count: 652
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The Judiciary Police (PJ) statistics showed that among the four most common types of illicit drugs in Macau, the amounts of “ice” and heroin they seized since 2003 were on an alarming increase year on year.

The amount of methamphetamine (also known as “ice”) seizure started at nearly 6.3 grams in 2003.

The figures then climbed year after year from around 14 grams, to 20 grams, 65 grams and 213 grams, and eventually to a record high at 5,422 grams last year.

At the same time, similar rising pattern was reported in the amount of heroin seized in Macau.

In 2008, the PJ seized a total of around 20,605 grams of heroin, nearly triple from a year ago at 7,925 grams.

And from 2003 to 2006, the seizures weighed respectively around 115 grams, 479 grams, 830 grams and then up to 4,089 grams.

According to Criminal Investigation Department chief Chau Wai Kuong, heroin, ketamine, cannabis and “ice” are most commonly seen in local drug trade, but added that there are signs showing a rising trend of cough medicine abuse among young people.

The statistics were released during yesterday’s media tour in the forensic laboratory at the Cotai PJ complex.

The amounts of cannabis the PJ seized, however, kept descending after 2004.

In 2004 the PJ seized the largest amount of cannabis at 3,401 grams, and afterwards the figures plunged to 695 grams, 555 grams and 220 grams in the following three years.

And only in 2008, it went up by about 20 grams to 240 grams.

In regards to ketamine, the statistics fluctuated between 2003 and 2008.

The amounts of seizures began at around 228 grams, then 721 grams and suddenly soared to 13,332 grams in 2005.

Surprisingly in 2006 the figure shrank to 216 grams, but up again to 850 grams in 2007 and finally climbed to 3,784 grams last year.

Chau, who is in-charge of drug crime and cross-border cooperation, said drug traffickers made use of Macau’s blooming international air transport and used it as a transit station to then smuggle drugs to Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China particularly Guangdong Province.

Yet, the statistics showed that the numbers of drug trafficking and consumption cases were quite steady from 2001 to 2008.

Of the drug trafficking category, the numbers of cases apprehended ranged from 58 to 99, with 2008 being at the highest at 115 cases.

As for drug consumption cases, the number topped at 181 in 2003, and in 2006 the lowest number was reported at 85. Last year the number was 107.

Meanwhile, the PJ revealed that 149 people were arrested for drug trafficking in 2008, jumped from 48 a year ago.

The number of people having been apprehended for drug abuse also went up from 102 to 199 last year.

On the other hand, between January and June this year, the PJ cracked down on 12 drug trafficking cases at the Macau International Airport, including six in which suspects ingested drugs in order avoid police detection.

A total of 14 people with African and Southern Asia origins were caught and nearly 17,560 grams of heroin were seized.

Chau said to control supply and minimise demand simultaneously is the most effective means to combat drug crime in the territory.

In order to successfully control supply of illicit drugs, Chau said the PJ have to stop or prevent Macau from being the transit station or selling destination by maintaining close contacts and cooperation with counterparts in neighbouring countries and regions.

To reduce demand for drugs, he said, will mostly rely on the efforts by the government and community organisations as well as the bilateral cooperation between them.

The local media yesterday toured the PJ building in Cotai where the forensic laboratory was moved in since March last year.

Reporters were divided into two groups to visit the divisions of biochemistry, drugs and toxicology, firearms identification, document examination and physiochemistry.

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