Prosecutors note rise in online drug cases

Ke Jiayun
Nearly 40 percent of drug-related cases in Yangpu District between 2018 and the first half of this year were committed via the Internet, according to the local procuratorate. 
Ke Jiayun

Yangpu District saw an increase in drug crimes committed online over the past two and a half years, Yangpu District People's Procuratorate announced on Tuesday.

Nearly 40 percent of drug-related cases between 2018 and the first half of this yea were committed via the Internet. Many involved cross-border trafficking with new drugs being mailed to China.

Of 365 drug crimes since 2018, 137 were connected to the Internet, prosecutors said, with drug dealers using advanced network technologies for every step of the transaction chain, from initial contact to payment and supply.

Dealers also targeted social networking and shopping platforms, posting information on these platforms and using their messaging services to contact buyers.

Some dealers who bought drugs overseas used WeChat or domestic e-commerce sites to find customers.

In addition to traditional drugs such as opium and heroin, some new types of drug had become favorites with dealers and addicts. They included foreign medicines which contain ingredients banned in China.

Dealers often disguise these drugs as common commodities. In one case, for example, a drug was mixed into drinks.

Online contacts and international deliveries made it difficult to trace the source of the drugs and traffickers who used virtual identities, prosecutors said.

They are calling for an improvement in collecting evidence online with support from the police and enhancing cooperation with departments including customs, frontier inspection, postal services and aviation.

In a recent case, a couple who bought a box of drinks containing drugs and a man who sold the drinks were sentenced to up to eight and a half years in jail for selling and transporting drugs.

In August last year, a woman surnamed Zhang learned that her customers wanted to buy a new type of drug in a drink called papaya. She contacted her boyfriend Wei who found a supplier who supplied 24 bottles of papaya.

The drinks were then sent to the buyer with Zhang making some 700 yuan (US$99) in profit.

Meanwhile, prosecutors in Huangpu District released details of a case involving a man who smuggled cannabis from overseas.

The man and his accomplice were both given a five-month detention and a 1,000 yuan fine.

Huangpu police captured the man in January when he was signing for an international parcel. Officers seized three packs of hemp-like plants weighing about 50 grams.

They tested positive for the active ingredient in cannabis.

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