China seizes three tonnes of crystal meth

China seizes three tonnes of crystal meth

BEIJING - Chinese police have seized three tonnes of crystal methamphetamine during raids in a southern city authorities say is notorious for providing a huge share of the country's supply of the drug.

Police seized the crystal meth - also known as "ice" - in a series of raids last Sunday in Lufeng, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing a statement from the Guangdong Province Public Security Bureau.

Paramilitary troops and police officers used helicopters and speedboats in the raids, which also saw 23 tonnes of raw materials seized and the arrests of nearly 200 suspects from 18 drug rings, Xinhua reported on Thursday.

Lufeng, a coastal city about 200 kilometres (124 miles) northeast of Hong Kong, has provided one-third of China's crystal meth annually over the past three years, the report said.

Methamphetamine is the second most popular drug in China after heroin, according to a report last year by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which estimated that sales of the two drugs in China and Southeast Asia totalled more than $30 billion in 2012.

Seizures of crystal meth in 2012 jumped 12-fold in Myanmar, 10-fold in Brunei, 91 per cent in Hong Kong, 75 per cent in both Indonesia and Cambodia, and 33 per cent in Japan, according to the report.

Chinese seizures of the drug rose 13 per cent in 2012, from 14.3 tonnes to 16.2 tonnes, the UNODC estimated.

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