Drug Abuse and Trafficking

In addition to oil and arms, drugs are the largest trade in the world.

said Kwan, the biggest player of the local drug market in the movie Protégé.

Like Protégé, there are many other famous works about drug dealings in Hong Kong. Similar to Kwan’s word, drug trafficking has been a serious issue here for a long time. What happens in the movie is just the portrayal of reality.

When talking about drugs, typical ones like cocaine, ice and ecstasy may be the first to come into people’s mind. However, dangerous drugs include much more: anesthetics like Ketamine, Methadone, and medicines like Amphetamine are all on the list. Moreover, the common use of these products in medical industries gives more chances to crimes.

A Glimpse of Real Cases

Recently, several cases of dangerous drug trafficking are going on, of which the defendants were mainly individual drug carriers. Lai Kam Fung is one of them and he is accused of carrying along narcotics.

“I saw a man wandering around, looking flurried,” described one of the witnesses, “I asked for his ID number and name and he told me, but he stayed silent when I asked him what he was doing there. Then I took the paper bag from his left hand and open it. Inside are two sealed bags of white particles.”

In the court hearing on 28th February, the judge and barristers analyzed the testimony above carefully. They tried to figure out whether the drug Lai carried was for himself. The jury will discuss together with the judge the next day and the case also comes closer to the end.

Reviewing the Hong Kong case law, these are not rare. Take a typical case of Chen Kang in 1997 as an example: Chen Kang was caught carrying along 1.81 grams of ice and 1.61 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride. And he was finally sentenced to a total term of seven and a half years jail.

The Demand for Drug

Business is about demand and supply. They buy therefore we sell.

This is another theory from Kwan, and it has a practical significance on the driving force of drug trafficking.

(Narcotics Division, Security Bureau, 2018)

Generally speaking: from 2013 to 2017, the overall number of reported drug abusers continued to decline, but abuse among young adults, especially those below 21 still deserve attention.  Prevalence psychotropic substance abuse and hidden abuse should not be ignored.

* It only includes the 1st three quarters of each year (Narcotics Division, Security Bureau, 2018)

“The use of ‘ice’ is still prevalent,” said the chairman of Action Committee Against Narcotics, Dr. Zhang, “and the number of teenagers who take Cocaine and Marijuana is increasing.”

Based on the scale of drug abuse, Professor Paul Yip and his team estimated the social cost. In general, the total costs caused by drug issue are about 7 billion Hong Kong dollars. Worse still, if taking the hidden drug abuser into consideration, the costs even rise up to 10 billion. Such a huge cost has become a heavy burden to the society, including law enforcement, the welfare, and medical system.

Hong Kong as a “Center”

As we all know, Hong Kong is an economic and cultural center partly because of its special geological position and unique social environment. But these properties also create a grey space for drug trafficking. In the drug trafficking net, Hong Kong also works as a center. According to the police, the drug here may come from South Africa, Southeast Asia and the communication between the mainland and Hong Kong is also quite frequent.

“Most of the drugs on Hong Kong are from the outside because HK has been convenient in traffic and prosperous in the economy for a long time.” said a Police interviewee.

For example, cross-border drug use has been a serious problem in law enforcement. Professor Zhong Hua and her colleague have done research on this issue between the mainland and HK for the NDSB. According to the report, at first, many drug addicts found new places in the mainland because of the crackdown on local drug spots. However, in recent years, drug users tend to shift the venues back to Hong Kong partly because of the more frequent raids on those entertainment facilities.

As the HK Customs officials described, the way of trafficking is like “ants moving home”: a large number of traffickers carried small quantities of the drug each time.  It is surprisingly convenient that abusers could make an order just with a phone call. These behaviors increase the difficulty of drug control, but the good news is that cross-border trafficking has been declining in the past years.

Sometimes people may think that those recorded in the movies are dramatized and far away from our everyday life. However, when browsing through the daily cause lists of the Judiciary, you can still see quite a few cases about the drug; when reading the statistics, you may still be surprised by those numbers and diagrams—-Drug abuse and trafficking still happen in the shadow.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: