China

Burma burns opium, but UN sees hype

Posted on July 7th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , .

South East AsiaTo mark International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking June 26, Burmese authorities held drug-burning ceremonies, boasting the destruction of seized opium, heroin and methamphetamine said to be worth a combined $130 million. The mass burnings in Rangoon, Mandalay and Taunggyi were attended by officials from the DEA as well as from Chinese drug enforcement agencies. But UN officials meanwhile warned that illicit drug production in Burma continued to rise—mostly to supply a growing Asian market. Jeremy Douglas, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Southeast Asia representative, told The Irrawady website that Burmese opium production was "in 2006, at the lowest point, representing roughly 7% of the global production; it is now 18%. So it has increased year on year." As usual, the bulk of the opium was produced in Shan and Kachin states, where tribal armies have long used the opium trade to finance their insurgencies. But Douglas, speaking at a Rangoon press conference announcing release of the UNODC's new World Drug Report, also said Shan state has become a major transshipment point for methamphetamine—seizures of which in Southeast Asia are at the "highest levels ever recorded." 

China's cannabis contradiction

Posted on June 29th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

ChinaOn June 26, International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, China's Supreme People's Court announced with pride that a whopping 39,762 have been sentenced for drug-related offenses in the People's Republic the first five months of 2014, up more than 27% for the same period last year. The official state news agency Xinhua reported that a total of 9,168, or about 23%, were sentenced to more than five years, life imprisonment, or death. A quoted SPC official made much of a supposedly growing drug meance. "Drug-related crimes have been spreading from bordering and coastal areas to the country's inland," said deputy jurist Ma Yan. South China's Guangdong province, with its booming export zones and free-wheeling capitalism, has topped the list since 2007. Yunnan and Guangxi, bordering Southeast Asia's opium-producing Golden Triangle, also continued to report high rates of drug-related crimes. But such cases are also mushrooming in inland Chongqing and northern Liaoning, Ma said. No breakdown was provided of the substances in question, but a proporiton of the cases certainly included cannabis.

Middle East leads global execution spike

Posted on April 3rd, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

Middle EastAmnesty International's latest global report on the death penalty, "Death Sentences and Executions: 2013," finds that a number of nations in the Middle East have fueled a spike in global figures with a spree of executions. Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia alone accounted for almost 80% of all reported executions carried out worldwide in 2013—excluding China, where official figures are secret. The upsurge in executions in Iran and Iraq accounts for a global jump of nearly 15% from 2012. Across the Middle East and North Africa, at least 638 people were executed in 2013—mostly by beheadings, hangings or firing squad. In Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, capital punishment was imposed for drug offenses. In Saudi Arabia, one man was executed for "adultery." Vaguely worded offenses, such as moharebeh ("enmity against God"), were used in Iran to repress the political activities of ethnic minorities such as the Kurds.

Golden Triangle opium boom

Posted on December 18th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

South East AsiaThe UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in its newly released annual Southeast Asia Opium Survey (PDF) finds that opium production in Burma continued to increase in 2013—up 26% to an estimated 870 metric tons. This is the highest amount since the UN began keeping track in 2002. In 1999, the Burmese regime promised to eradicate opium production by 2014, but production has increased every year since 2006. The UNODC report acknowledges that eradication efforts have failed to address the political and economic factors that drive farmers to grow opium in the first place. With poppy fetching 19 times more than rice, struggling peasants have few other options to make a living.

Hong Kong: triads crushed at last?

Posted on August 25th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , .

East AsiaAuthorities in Hong Kong are boasting that the city's long-reigning criminal gangs, the notorious Triads, are finally crushed following an operation coordinated with police forces in Macau and mainland China's Guangdong province, in which more than 14,000 were arrested and 2,500 properties raided—including discos, massage parlours and nightclubs. Police confiscated HK$39.3  million (US$5 million) worth of illicit goods, including drugs, contraband cigarettes, pornography and weapons. Leading figures in the powerful Sun Yee On and 14K triads are said to be among the detained. 

Triads in Éire?

Posted on November 28th, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

IrelandThe Garda Síochána, Ireland's national police force, say they broke up a network of drug gangs that were collaborating with Hong Kong-based Triad syndicates in a series of indoor cannabis grow operations that produced much of the island's supply. The Garda National Drugs Unit raided 236 premises and arrested 54 foreigners as part of the investigation codenamed Operation Wireless. Police say 4,200 cannabis plants were seized in Dublin, Meath, Wexford and Cork. Many of those arrested were said to be affiliated with the Wo Shing Wo, one of Hong Kong's most powerful Triads, with globe-spanning operations in drug trafficking, human trafficking, prostitution and gambling. (Dublin Herald, Nov. 21)

Burmese warlord confesses to Mekong massacre

Posted on September 25th, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , .

South East AsiaSix men accused of murdering 13 crew members of two Chinese merchant ships on the Mekong River last year pleaded guilty Sept. 20 at their trial in Kunming, capital of China's Yunnan province. The defendants included Naw Kham (also rendered Nor Kham), purportedly one of the most powerful warlords in the Golden Triangle opium-growing region that straddles the borders of Burma, Thailand and Laos. The crew were massacred by an armed gang that attacked two cargo ships last October. Chinese media said the gang was involved in kidnapping as well as international drug running.

UN drug agency won't take stand on executions

Posted on March 2nd, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

South East AsiaThe UN International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) said Feb. 28 that it is taking no view on the Thai government's plans to speed up the execution of convicted drug traffickers. The agency said it neither supports nor opposes the death penalty for drug-related offenses. "We are an impartial body and respect the rule of law and jurisdiction of countries," said INCB Thai board member Viroj Sumyai. 

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