What does one do when more than 20 percent of a village is involved in the drug trade? In a statement released on Thursday by the Guangdong’s public security bureau, authorities conducted 109 raids in Boshe, a village of 14,000 people in Lufeng, Guangdong Providence around 4 AM on Sunday, December 29. 3.3 tons of crystalline methamphetamine, also known as crystal meth or ice was seized.
This large scale effort involved 3000 plus paramilitary forces, helicopters and speedboats. 182 people were arrested from 18 production and trafficking drug rings; 14 Communist Party officials, including Cai Dongjia, the local Communist Party village chief; 100 tons of raw materials were recovered, including guns, knives, a grenade; 77drug factories were shut down. A third of China’s entire crystal meth supply in the past three years comes from this one small village, about 200 kilometers northeast of Hong Kong.
Why Boshe village?
Since the 1990s, the city of Lufeng had little economic prospects. Many residents had moved to nearby cities like Shenzhen for a better life and more opportunities. The villagers that remained turned their homes and farms into drug factories.
It has been an open secret in Lufeng that the local corrupt officials helped protect the drug gangs for years. Local villagers also act as watchdogs with tip-offs about impending raids, thwarting police investigation. For years, in order to resist the authorities, the villagers had blocked the village entrance with motorcycles, lay nail boards on the road, used replicas of AK-47s, and thrown stones and homemade grenades at imposing officers.
“The village has made a criminal drug production a ‘clan-based, industrialized operation with local protection,’” police said. “The offenders have for a long time been brazenly committing crimes, avoiding investigations and even ganging up to violently oppose law enforcement.”
Drug Dealers Be Warned
In a campaign against drug crimes called “Thunder Operations” since last July, Guangdong police had seized 8.1 metric tons of drugs and arrested 10,836 suspects. Qui Wei, the police chief of Guangdong said the raid in Boshe is just the “tip of the iceberg.” “This raid is just the beginning, not the end,” he said. “We will launch a second raid, a third raid and many more.”
According to the report from United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC), methamphetamine is the second most popular drug after heroin in China. Estimated sales of the two drugs in the country and South East Asia amount to $30 billion in 2012. Seizure of crystal meth in 2012 jumped 12-fold in Myanmar, 10-fold in Brunei, 91 percent in Hong Kong, 75 percent in both Indonesia and Cambodia, and 33 percent in Japan. Chinese seizures of crystal meth rose 13 percent in 2012.