One tonne of ketamine seized in biggest drug bust

THE biggest international drug smuggling ring since 1949 was busted when nearly a tonne of ketamine was seized at the Yantai port city in Shangdong Province and six suspects arrested on Sept 19. 

This was announced on Wednesday by the Public Security Ministry ahead of the Asean-China Anti-Drug Conference to be held in Beijing from Oct 18 to 20.  

A spokesman for the ministry said the mastermind of the smuggling ring, a Canadian-Chinese nicknamed Da Tou Sam (Big Head Sam) had escaped the operation mounted by China and authorities from three other countries. The mastermind is still at large. 

The spokesman said the bust had also disrupted a new route that the syndicate was trying to establish via ports in northern China instead of the usual route via southern China, through Guangdong and Fujian provinces. 

Also seized in the operation were two cars and 80,000 yuan (RM37,301) in cash. 

According to the spokesman, the syndicate had bought the ketamine in India and used a container to ship the illicit drug via Singapore, Pusan and Yantai. It was destined for Guangdong. 

He said Chinese enforcement agencies had worked closely with their counterparts in Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan to smash the syndicate. 

The spokesman said that at next week’s conference, China and Asean will review the work done so far, and reaffirm their determination to eradicate the drug menace in the region. 

Participating nations are expected to adopt a Beijing Declaration detailing 17 critical areas where concerted efforts were needed to fight the war against illicit drugs. 

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