British Drug Smuggler’s Death Sentence, Netizen Reactions

By enquirewithin · Dec 1, 2009 · ·
  1. enquirewithin
    Recently, a British drug smuggler’s death sentence was upheld by the Supreme People’s Court in China.

    News on
    Death penalty on British drug dealer in line with Chinese law
    BEIJING, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) — Chinese court’s sentence of death penalty on a British drug trafficker is in line with Chinese laws, said a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday.

    Akmal Shaikh, 53, male, was sentenced to death in the first instance trial by the Intermediate People’s Court of Urumqi Municipality in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Oct. 29, 2008, said Ma Zhaoxu, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at a regular news briefing.

    The case is currently being reviewed by China’s Supreme People’s Court, Ma said.

    “All the procedures have been in line with relevant Chinese laws. During the trial, The accused and the counsel had freely exercised their rights of defense, and translation service had been provided to the accused. His legal rights had been fully guaranteed,” he said.

    According to Ma, the British embassy in China and a British organization had proposed to organize mental disease examinations on Akmal Shaikh, while offering no evidence that he may be suffering from mental disease.

    The accused had said that he and his family members had no history of mental diseases, Ma said.

    The case is under examination, he said.

    So what do Chinese people think of the sentence online? A survey from shows that among the netizens who took the survey:

    98.8% (3528 votes) support the Supreme People’s Court’s sentence;
    96.7% (3737 votes) think the British media is interfering in China’s internal affairs.
    In another survey that asks “What do you think of British media’s report on this incident”:

    53.9% (1924 votes) think these reports show Britain still has an outdated colonial mindset;
    30.1% (1074 votes) think the British media is using “human rights” as an excuse;
    16.0% (569 votes) think they are sensationalizing this incident with malicious intentions.
    English coverage can be found on Google News.

    Following are some translated Chinese comments from various source:


    Of course I support. No matter if he’s Chinese or a foreigner, on Chinese land, he should obey Chinese laws.

    Mercy to drug smugglers is a crime against the people.

    People’s rights are based on the fact that everyone should be equal in front of laws. If we released this British criminal, what should we do to Chinese drug dealers? Should we abandon the death penalty? These scrum [drug dealers] would even risk their lives to smuggle drugs. If there’s no death penalty, what will they be afraid of?

    So if Hitler had “delusional psychosis and bipolar disorder”, why do British people dig him from his grave every year [sarcasm]? That’s so “lack of human rights”.

    The Chinese government should not pay much attention to British pressure. Drug smugglers deserve death penalty.

    PRC government is not the same government in Qing Dynasty. We have judicial supremacy.

    British dude, do you know? In ancient China the law is much more cruel. If you cheat in an exam, you die.


    From Chengdu, Sichuan:

    Britain should thank us for saving them from yet another drug dealer.

    From Guangzhou, Guangdong:

    The one who has “delusional psychosis and bipolar disorder” is the British media.

    From Nanjing, Jiangsu:

    International drug smugglers come commit crimes against the Chinese people. One comes, we kill one. Two come, we shoot a pair. Bullets for these scum are plenty. I support the Supreme People’s Court’s sentence. He should pay a price for violating Chinese laws.

    From Changsha:

    What he’s sentenced with is not the death sentence but loneliness.

    From Qinzhou:

    Akmal must die. We are collecting signatures to support his death penalty.


    Ghmily from Guangzhou:

    Wow! Four kilograms! And he put 4k heroin in his hand band just like that and tried to enter China? Is that too ignorant/arrogant?


    I’m fed up with those people who use “mental disorder” as an excuse [to evade punishment from laws]. If you are mentally sick you don’t have to pay a price for your crime? Everyone on the planet has some level of “disorder” in mind so we are all free from responsibilities …

    Spirit of Six Strings:

    [He] should be executed in public. “Pong” and China’s drug smuggling will drop by 30% immediately. Or we inject all 4kg heroin into his vein at once. If he can still survive then we let him go.


    4 kg! He deserves several deaths. [Smuggling 50 gram heroin is the threshold for a death penalty in China.]

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  1. Terrapinzflyer
    China upholds death sentence over British heroin trafficker

    Akmal Shaikh, a 53-year-old British man from London, will probably be the first executed British citizen in 50 years in China as he was found guilty of carrying drugs.

    Shaikh will be put to death on 29 December after the Supreme People's Court (SPC) denied he has mental disorder and upheld his death sentence, reports Guardian.

    Jiang Yu, Foreign Ministry spokesman, said at the conference on December 22 that the case had been handled with extreme caution.

    "We have informed the British side in a timely manner and arranged for consular access," she said.

    Shaikh was arrested for carrying 4 kg of heroin on arrival at Urumqi in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in 2007 and sentenced to death on Oct 29, 2008 by the local court in the first trial. His appeal was later dismissed by the SPC.

    His daughter, Leila Horsnell, said her father was mentally ill and deserved to be spared. She told the BBC that he was approached by drug smugglers in Poland, who promised him to make him a popstar in China.

    "I believe he genuinely thought that," she said.

    But the SPC said the mental identification didn't give any evidence showing Shaikh was mentally ill. He himself also admitted there is no family history of mental illness, according to the Chinese media.

    Under Article 347 of China's Criminal Law, for those guilty of smuggling, trafficking in, or transporting heroin, the threshold for a death sentence is 50 grams.

    The British Prime Minister Gordon Brown had written to express his dismay over SPC's final sentence, said a Downing Street spokesman.

    Dec 24, 2009
    by Wang Fangqing

    there is also an older story on the matter here: Mentally ill Briton faces execution for smuggling heroin into China
  2. EyesOfTheWorld
    No drug user, dealer or smuggler deserves the death penalty. AFOAF and friends, especially on Dead/Phish lot, will admit to using various frontier justice methods (no one ever died or anything like that BTW) on those found "guilty" of worse drug "crimes" like deliberately selling bunk, getting people hooked on dope that didnt have a habit beforehand just to profit off them etc. But this should never be the official policy of a nation (especially one responsible for the worldwide flood of dodgy RC's-no, not all RC's are dodgy, but some are, and 99% of them come from "anti-drug" China). Devil's advocate time, though......if one is planning to smuggle 4 keys of smack into anywhere, they had better do their research into EXACTLY what they may be getting themselves into. "Bipolar Disorder" is no excuse for not doing one's research, SWIM knows plenty of bipolar people, and they all are aware of exactly what penalties are attached to whatever crimes they may choose to commit and weigh it carefully before decided if it's worth the risk.
  3. enquirewithin
    I am not sure that this case has anything do with dodgy RCs or otherwise. If the central government really thought that RCs were a problem to them, they would crack down with real force. Maybe we should be grateful that China's vast industrial output and somewhat chaotic legal system allows the manufacture of RCs.

    I disagree with the death penalty 100%, but many countries do not. Whilst Shaikh has my sympathies, it's only his passport which makes his case well known. People die smuggling heroin frequently. He must have known the risks.

    Brown is also a hypocrite (in this case and many others). His government attacked Afghanistan (he was chancellor) with its US allies and have caused a massive explosion in the production of opium/ heroin, both through their corrupt allies and the total breakdown of order which they have caused.
  4. MiMoMo
    Again, curious as to where the 4 keys of smack went and ended up. Any guesses? The fiscally shrewd Chinese government would never throw away almost half a million $US worth of product. Ironically, it most likely resold back to America or England along with melamine milk, lead paint toys and contaminated candies. Now, all Shaikh's organs, they most definitely are already on e-organBay! Assuming the smugglers family had some real serious wealth, wonder how much it would have cost to buy his life back? Thinking Chinese 'justice' would entertain bidding starting at 20-30 million $US.
  5. enquirewithin
    In which reality is the Chinese government 'fiscally screwed?
  6. Coconut
    MiMoMo didn't say that. 'Shrewd' is an adjective which describes a noun as being sharp, perceptive and aware.
  7. MiMoMo
    Sorry for my often obtuse wording, but I meant 'shrewd' as in cunning, conniving and ruthless. Experienced in trading commodity futures, the Chinese are devious in their manipulation of the markets as to always get the best price for themselves. In fact right now, they seem to be buying alot of the world's soybean supply, driving prices above $10/bushel. Realistically, they would never let the value of heroin confiscated 'go to waste', in my opinion. Much like most police evidence room inventory, gone missing, likely resold.

    Here's a follow up arrest on the heels of Shaik's, actually an apprehension that's been on the back burner until now. No doubt to bolster public sentiment in support of their heinous death penalty decisions. This time a haul of 145 kilos.

    Pakistanis and Afghans arrested in China heroin bust

    Two Pakistanis and two Afghans could face the death penalty in China following their arrest in a major heroin bust, a report said on Friday, days after a Briton convicted on drugs charges was executed. The four, whose nationalities had hitherto not been revealed, were among nine people arrested after the police in September uncovered about 145 kilograms of heroin stuffed inside cotton bales in Shenzhen, the South China Morning Post reported.

    The case was the biggest heroin haul in the southern Chinese city and authorities there believed the drugs were intended for the local market, the newspaper said, citing an unnamed local government worker familiar with the case. It also highlighted how China has turned from the biggest transition point into a major primary market for drugs as the society becomes more affluent and demand for illicit goods increases.

    In the 1990s, drugs were often produced in the Golden Triangle - Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos - and smuggled via mainland China to Hong Kong, where they could fetch high prices, the source told the newspaper.
    "This has since changed. Since 2004, most heroin has been flowing in from Afghanistan. It is often sold in big mainland cities -- not just Guangzhou, Shenzhen or Shanghai, but also Urumqi, Chongqing or Chengdu," the source said.

    Deccan Chronicle
    [FONT=&quot]Jan 01 2010[/FONT]
  8. enquirewithin
    I am obviously not shrewd as I I misread shrewd for screwed! Of course, the Chinese government is shrewd-- or tries to be. The US likes to brand China as 'currency manipulator' and complain that the yuan is kept 'artificially low', etc, etc. All that means is that the US is not enjoying its traditional unfair advantages in world trade. (The dollar is artificially low in value too.)

    The heroin may make it's way back into the market (it does in most countries) although as this case is so high profile, perhaps not. I don't think that the Chinese government itself actually sells heroin (even though the British government of the C19 virtually did sell opium to China). Corrupt officials, however, certainly will be involved in the heroin trade.

    The article SWIMiMoMo quotes is informative. Usually China simply expels foreigners on drug charges, but this time the amount was too much and they believed it was meant for the local market. Shaik is being made an example of.

    "..most heroin has been flowing in from Afghanistan. It is often sold in big mainland cities"-- the China can thank the US for that!
  9. Phenoxide
    We can all paint the Chinese as the devil here, but unfortunately their decision to apply the death penalty is widely supported in the UK too:

    BBC News - Have Your Say - Was China right to execute drug smuggling Briton?
    29th December 2009

    Of course these kind of opinion threads bring out the most bigoted and reactionary elements of society, but I can't help but notice I had to scroll through several pages of the top-rated posts to find even one which thought clemency was appropriate. Admittedly there's multiple reasons beyond the issue of drug smuggling. Some people are naturally suspicious of the use of mental illness as a defense, others see it as meddling in another country's justice system, and others simply don't care because he wasn't born in the UK and isn't caucasian. However, the prevailing message still appears to be that a dead drug smuggler is the best kind, especially when it comes to "bad drugs" like heroin.

    So much for a progressive drugs policy. Guess the British electorate does indeed get the government it deserves. :(
  10. enquirewithin
    That sucks. China does apply the death penalty far too much-- there is no doubt about that-- but I am surmised at Brits agreeing with it.

    Britain sells arms around the world which cause the deaths and maiming of untold numbers of people, but that's (apparently) not as bad as selling heroin. Hypocrisy! :(
  11. MiMoMo
    Along those lines, this sure is an interesting presentation to have heard. Wonder why the full manuscript remains unpublished, too fresh? And despite the almost 40 times greater quantity of heroin allegedly smuggled in by the Pakistani and Afghani foursome, I'm betting that they WILL NOT be executed, instead, spared just to spite the Queen!

    Street-Level Heroin Sales in Kunming, China

    Abstract: Based on face-to-face interviews with 27 heroin users and 28 heroin dealers in Kunming, China, the authors explore the social organization and social processes of street-level heroin sales in the capital of Yunnan Province. Yunnan is located in southwest China and it is adjacent to the Golden Triangle. Kunming City is considered to be the “heroin capital” of China. We focus on the individual characteristics of heroin users and dealers, the causes and processes of the transformation from drug use to drug sales, and the modus operandi of street-level heroin sales in Kunming. We also compare and contrast street-level drug distribution in China and the United States.

    Chin, Ko-lin. and Zhang, Sheldon.
    Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology (ASC)
    , <Not Available>. 2010-01-03 <
    Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
  12. enquirewithin
    Heroin and other drug dealers (or alleged dealers) are punished by death. Evidence is obtained by torture so those accused tend to be guilty! The same happens in other countries. Singapore tops the league for capital punishment per head-- most executions are for drug dealing (which can include for cannabis).
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