Southeast Asia

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." 

Vietnam sentences 30 to death in prison drug trial

Posted on February 10th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

South East AsiaA court in Vietnam's northern province of Quang Ninh sentenced 30 people to death for heroin smuggling last month, in what was called the largest such trial ever held in the country—both in terms of the number of defendants and of death sentences handed down. Dozens of others received prison terms from two years to life. In recognition of the sensitivity of the case, the trial was actually held at the provincial prison rather than a courtroom. Quang Ninh, bordering China, is a transit route between the inland opium-producing Golden Triangle and the South China Sea. (See map.)

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. 

Blood Ganja

The most enlightened cannabis connoisseurs—those who still have a link back to the values that defined the hippie culture—tend to be conscious consumers when it comes to food or computers or whatnot. They may buy organic tomatoes, boycott Taco Bell to support exploited farm workers in Florida, and petition Apple about the brutal conditions in their Chinese assembly plants. But do they pay as much attention to the source of their preferred smoking herb? 

Is there blood on your ganja?

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. 

Malaysia: "red alert" against drug trafficking

Posted on January 3rd, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

South East AsiaMalaysian airport authorities have been placed on a "red alert" against drug trafficking following a surge over the past year in arrests and drug seizures. Customs officers are screening all inbound passengers to Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The airport's customs director M. Govinden said 195 kilograms (430 pounds) of drugs had been seized and 33 people arrested at the city's two air terminals so far this year, despite Malaysia's tough anti-drug laws which include a mandatory death sentence for traffickers.

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