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<TD =dtitle vAlign=top align=middle>Customs seize 73 kgs of ketamine in swoop</TD></TR>
<TD =dtime vAlign=top align=middle height=40>Latest Updated by 2005-05-09 11:00:03</TD></TR>
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Chinese customs authorities are to crack down on drug trafficking and focus on the surging amounts of ketamine being smuggled into the country. <?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" />
Customs throughout <?:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comffice:smarttags" /><st1:country-region><st1lace>China</st1lace></st1:country-region> have so far this year busted 49 cases of trafficking, seizing 73 kilograms of drugs, sources with the Beijing-based General Administration of Customs (GAC) said yesterday.
Of the haul, 35 kilograms - nearly half of the total - were ketamine.
Ketamine, also known as K, or Ket, on the street, is short for ketamine hydrochloride. It is a legitimate chemical used as an anaesthetic on animals and humans, but its use is on the rise among young people as a "club drug." Its effects can range from rapture to paranoia or extreme boredom. It can put users in a coma.
"GAC has paid much more attention to the increasing amount of ketamine smuggled into the mainland this year," the sources said.
Only 15 grams of ketamine were seized by customs in the first four months of last year, and the increase has been put down to the huge profits available.
GAC's officers have prosecuted 15 cases of smuggling ketamine so far this year. Most were people carrying the substance in their luggage, with 10 carrying more than 2 kilograms each.
One Chinese man with a foreign nationality, surnamed Zheng, had wrapped almost 7 kilograms up in his baggage to try to enter the Chinese mainland through Luohu, a port in Shenzhen. Further investigation led to the arrest of three others involved in the case.
Early last month at <st1lace><st1laceName>Gaoqi</st1laceName> <st1lace>Airport</st1lace></st1lace> in <st1lace><st1:City>Xiamen</st1:City>, <st1:State>Fujian</st1:State></st1lace> Province, customs inspectors discovered about 30 kilograms of ketamine packed as food. After netting the suspect, customs officers caught another suspect waiting to receive the drugs.
More than 15 kilograms of the drug have also been seized this year in <st1:City><st1lace>Guangzhou</st1lace></st1:City>, capital of <st1lace>South China</st1lace>'s <st1lace><st1laceName>Guangdong</st1laceName> <st1lace>Province</st1lace></st1lace>.
Editor: Yan </TD></TR>
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By:Liang Chao Source:China View website</TD></TR>
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