More foreign drug smugglers entering Vietnam: ministry
VietNamNet Bridge - An increasing amount of drugs are being smuggled into Vietnam and the number of foreign criminals involved in such cases rose dramatically in 2009, the Ministry of Public Security has reported.
Among the foreigners, the portion of Africans was disproportionately high, said the ministry.
Increasing numbers of Africans were staying in Vietnam illegally or with overstayed visas, the report said, adding that many had hired local women to carry drugs into the country by air, using the country as a go-between for shipments to China and Australia, the ministry said at a recent conference reviewing antidrug measures in 2009.
In four major international drug smuggling cases last year, police from the ministry arrested 28 suspects, including 17 of African origins. Chinese police also arrested 56 Vietnamese in separate cases for smuggling a total of 14 kilograms of heroin into China in 2009, the ministry said.
Drugs have also been smuggled into Vietnam overland from Laos and Cambodia with hundreds of smuggling rings operating in border areas. In 2009, police confiscated large quantities of drugs being smuggled into Vietnam from Laos, including 40 kilograms of heroin moving into Hoa Binh Province in August, 460,000 tablets of methamphetamine crossing into Thanh Hoa Province in May and nearly seven kilograms of heroin in Nghe An Province last November.
International criminals have been using temporary import forms at Vietnamese seaports to use the country as a go-between for international drug smuggling.
The Ministry of Public Security also warned that increasing amounts of cannabis were being grown by drug dealers in basements. Much of the country’s cannabis was now being grown with new technology, the report said, adding that a new type of drug in which alcohol is brewed with cannabis was also becoming popular.
In 2009, police handled a total of 14,237 drug cases, 866 more than the previous year, and arrested 21,086 people involved in drug smuggling.
However, police said the number of drug addicts has decreased by 26,872 people over 2008 to a total of 146,731 people as of mid-December 2009.
The United Nations’ 2009 World Drug Report showed that around 200 million people, or 4.9 percent of the global population, were currently drug users.
Heroin has been reported as the primary drug used in China, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Vietnam over the past five years, according to the report.
08:13' 02/02/2010 (GMT+7)
More foreign drug smugglers entering Vietnam