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Strengthened policing needed to counter China-Vietnam drug trafficking

By : Xinhua | Published: 2013-December-7

NANNING, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Police have called for more resources and international cooperation to help counter drug trafficking along the China-Vietnam border, which is becoming an increasingly key battlefield in the fight against this crime.

In the first 10 months of this year, 6,146 drug-related cases were busted, 7,114 suspects captured and 1,400 kg of various drugs were seized by police in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, which shares a 1,020-km-long land border with Vietnam.

Growth in the amount of drugs seized indicates trafficking is rampant in the area. In 2010, 2011 and 2012, Guangxi police nabbed 181 kg, 212 kg and 421 kg respectively of illegal substances in the border area. They mainly came from the Middle East and southeast Asia.

Assessing all China's provinces and regions, Guangxi ranks second only to Yunnan in terms of the amount of drugs smuggled in via land borders, according to the region's police. Drug trafficking is common in villages along Guangxi's border.

Border cities or counties including Dongxing, Pingxiang, Ningming and Daxin face a particularly severe situation.

In Dongxing City, returned Chinese businessmen from Vietnam have got involved in drug trafficking in recent years, using their familiarity with both Vietnam and Guangxi, Gao Jianping, a drug control police officer in Dongxing, told Xinhua.

In one case, 74-year-old Wang Lunye, was sentenced to death in May for his involvement in trafficking drugs for more than 10 years. He had spent time in Vietnam before returning to China.

A shortage of drug control police is a major problem for Guangxi, said Lu Kaiwang, a senior police officer with the Guangxi Public Security Department.

Currently, Guangxi has no more than 1,100 professional drug control police, with only 109 such officers for 11 cities or counties in the border areas. Given the long border, the current personnel number is far from enough to meet the tough task of stemming the flow of drugs.

Solving the personnel shortage is very urgent, said Lu. He suggested Guangxi should have 2,000 drug control officers and that anti-drug patrols should be increased along the border.

Guangxi is also trying to mobilize the public to join the crackdown on drugs.

In early November, police in Nanning, the regional capital, announced rewards for those who provide tip-offs related to drugs. The maximum reward is 300,000 yuan (48,900 U.S. dollars).

In addition, cooperation between China and Vietnam needs to be strengthened in drug control efforts.

In mid-November, an advanced study course was held in Guangxi for 15 drug control officials from Vietnam. As part of the course, the foreign officials inspected real narcotics control operations by Chinese police.

The two countries set up liaison mechanisms last year between Dongxing and Mong Cai in Vietnam, Pingxiang and Vietnam's Dong Dang, to enhance cooperation and exchange of information on drug control.

However, due to language barriers and other factors, liaison offices have not been very effective, according to Qiu Yucheng, another leading narcotics control officer with the Guangxi Public Security Department.

For example, clues about drug cases provided by both sides lack precision, he said. He called for the offices to be equipped with an adequate number of specialist staff.

The two sides should strengthen these mechanisms, and exchange and train personnel to bolster narcotics control, according to Qiu.

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