New UN Report Shows Extent of ASEAN Methamphetamine Traffic

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New UN Report Shows Extent of ASEAN Methamphetamine Traffic

Post by CEOCambodiaNews »

17 March 2019
CEO News: A new report from the UN Global SMART Programme published in March 2019 : Synthetic Drugs in East and South-East Asia Trends and Patterns of Amphetamine-type Stimulants and New Psychoactive Substances shows the extent of the rising trans-border traffic of methamphetamine and other drugs between Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and beyond.
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https://www.unodc.org/documents/southea ... nd_SEA.pdf

The shocking methamphetamine trade in ASEAN
By ASEAN Post -
March 17, 2019
Porous borders and a lack of enforcement contributed to the record seizure of methamphetamine in East and Southeast Asia last year.

Drug trade in the Golden Triangle – a region where the borders of Myanmar, Lao and Thailand meet – is booming thanks to an increase in transnational organised crime groups operating, manufacturing and trafficking methamphetamine and other drugs in the region, according to a recent report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Seizures of methamphetamine in the region in 2017 came in at 82 tons, which was a record at the time. However, last week’s UN report noted that the latest available data for 2018 – confirmed by countries in the region mostly by the third quarter of the year – shows the amount seized had increased to 116 tons. The amount is an alarming 210 percent increase from five years ago.
In full: https://theaseanpost.com/index.php/arti ... rade-asean
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Re: New UN Report Shows Extent of ASEAN Methamphetamine Traffic

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Synthetic drugs SE Asia’s lucrative crime
19 July 2019

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released a report on Thursday detailing new patterns of organised crime in Southeast Asia.

The Transnational Organized Crime in Southeast Asia: Evolution, Growth and Impact 2019 report released by UNODC on Thursday said synthetic drugs have become the most profitable illicit business in the region as organised crime groups developed their business models and expanded methamphetamine markets.

The report said human trafficking and the smuggling of migrants had also increased due to demand and the supply of cheap labour in the region.

Southeast Asia was also a hub for counterfeit goods and medicines.

The study found that recent crackdowns in some parts of Southeast Asia and neighbouring regions have changed trafficking patterns, while large criminal groups have at the same time scaled-up and moved operations to locations with weak governance, particularly in border areas.

It looked at active transnational organised crime, including the trafficking of drugs, particularly methamphetamine and heroin, and the precursors used in their manufacture, human trafficking and the smuggling of migrants.

It also studied environmental crime, such as wildlife and timber trafficking, as well as the counterfeit goods and falsified medicines trade.

“Organised crime groups are generating tens of billions of dollars in Southeast Asia from the cross-border trafficking and smuggling of illegal drugs and precursors, people, wildlife, timber and counterfeit goods,” UNODC Regional Representative Jeremy Douglas said.
https://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/ ... tive-crime
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Re: New UN Report Shows Extent of ASEAN Methamphetamine Traffic

Post by SternAAlbifrons »

This is a link to the doc referred to above; (it takes a few minutes to download)
https://www.unodc.org/documents/southea ... 19_web.pdf


Scary stuff. Cambodia shows a 700% increase in meth seizures between 2014 - 2018.
This does not appear to be an anomaly, it is higher than most individual SEA countries but broadly in line with the general trend.

Interesting report all 'round. (and scary)
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Re: New UN Report Shows Extent of ASEAN Methamphetamine Traffic

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Saigon drug haul up tenfold year-on-year: police
By Quoc Thang October 5, 2019 | 02:56 pm GMT+7

Saigon police have seized over 1.6 tons of drugs since the beginning of this year, more than 10 times the same period last year.

Over 1,200 drug-related cases have been busted this year, Phung Van Dang, deputy head of the Saigon anti-drug police department, said at a meeting Thursday.

Around 300 kilograms of heroin, about 1.3 tons of synthetic drugs and 20 kilograms of cannabis were seized, he said. The police also confiscated 16 guns, two grenades, 30 cars and cash worth about $245,000 from the traffickers.

The drugs mainly came from the Golden Triangle, an intersection of Laos, Thailand and Myanmar, to Vietnamese localities near the border.

In one recent case late last month, Saigon police busted a drug trafficking ring from Laos to Saigon worth about VND1 billion ($43,000). Six people were arrested, with about seven kilograms of drugs, over 500 ecstasy pills, six guns, dozens of bullets and other weapons as seized evidence, said police Thursday.

Dang said most of the drugs seized in HCMC were to be sent to fake companies in the city and disguised as other goods and products to be exported to third countries like the Philippines or China on ships.

Some of them would be sent from Europe and America to Saigon by air. Only a small amount of drugs was consumed by Vietnamese users, Dang said.

However, with just 10,000 of over 24,000 addicts in the southern metropolis managed by authorities, the city continued to be a major consumption market for drug rings, he said.

He noted that the criminals involved in producing, distributing and trafficking drugs were mainly of Taiwanese and Chinese descent who coopted Vietnamese people in their operations.

Drug trafficking and consumption have persisted and worsened in Vietnam over the last few years, despite the country having some of the world's toughest anti-drug laws, including death sentences for drug smuggling and trading.
https://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/saigo ... 92120.html
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Re: New UN Report Shows Extent of ASEAN Methamphetamine Traffic

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Regional anti-drug chiefs aim to boost cross-border probe
Nov 18, 2019, 5:00 am SGT
Tan Hui Yee Indochina Bureau Chief In Bangkok

Recent clampdowns by China have pushed transnational narcotics networks into the lower Mekong countries like Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, flooding the area with methamphetamine that has remained cheap despite record seizures by the regional authorities.

Amid growing concern that drug syndicates will diversify to fentanyl - a deadly synthetic opioid - ministers and anti-drug officials from Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam met in Bangkok last week to map out a strategy to increase cross-border investigations and operations.

"Thailand's law-enforcement agencies have had some success in recent years, but national efforts alone are clearly not enough," said Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam in a statement last Friday. "Organised crime takes advantage of gaps and vulnerabilities that result because of uneven law-enforcement capacity and coordination problems." Regional cooperation would help create a more coherent approach, he added.

Criminal networks have been deft in adjusting their tactics according to policing strategies, causing methamphetamine prices to plunge to levels last seen 20 years ago, "indicating extremely high levels of availability", said the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which co-chaired the meeting with the Thai government.

"The continuing scale-up of synthetic drug trafficking in the Mekong is not simply a crisis for the region itself, but it is now an international problem," said Mr Jeremy Douglas, UNODC regional representative. "We are concerned that they will diversify further to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. With all its capacity, North America was not ready, and Asia certainly is not."

Last week, for example, Thai police seized 176kg of crystal methamphetamine hidden inside electric treadmills bound for Japan.

Thailand alone last year seized 17 times the number of meth tablets found in the entire Mekong region a decade ago.

In May, the authorities seized 10 tonnes of suspected meth precursor chemicals in the Mekong river, en route from China to Myanmar, according to UNDOC.

The borderlands in Myanmar's northern Shan state, where armed groups limit the reach of the enforcement authorities, have been identified as the epicentre of the meth trade.

Efforts by Thailand to suppress illicit activity in the Golden Triangle - the part of the Mekong river where Laos, Myanmar and Thailand meet - only resulted in rerouting of shipments from Myanmar to Thailand via the latter's western border, or via the Andaman Sea.

Preliminary data for this year indicates that the region has already seized more crystal meth than it did last year, said the UNDOC.

The syndicates have been able to keep production going and use new precursors to replace others when their laboratories are raided. With the regional meth market said to be worth US$61.4 billion (S$83.5 billion) a year, they are seeking new ways to launder profits, including through South-east Asian casinos.
https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-as ... rder-probe
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Re: New UN Report Shows Extent of ASEAN Methamphetamine Traffic

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Meth Is More Cheap, Pure and Widely Available in Cambodia, UN Reports
6 min read
Matt Surrusco and Ouch Sony
| Sat May 16, 2020 10:09 am

Methamphetamine, long one of the nation’s most abused drugs, has become more affordable, pure and available in Cambodia as organized crime groups move precursor chemicals across borders and flood the region with cheap synthetic drugs, according to a new U.N. report.

In recent years, while the government has continued an anti-drug campaign aimed at cutting drug use and trafficking, the prices of crystal methamphetamine and meth tablets have dropped to their “lowest level on record,” while the drugs’ average purity and amounts seized by authorities have risen, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a report on synthetic drug trends in East and Southeast Asia released on Friday.

“In short, organized crime groups are in a position to provide better quality methamphetamine at much cheaper prices compared to a decade ago, increasing affordability and harm at the same time,” Inshik Sim, UNODC illicit drugs analyst, said in a statement.

Cambodia and neighbors Laos, Myanmar and Thailand — whose borders meet in the Golden Triangle region, one of the world’s best-known drug trade hubs — account for most of the meth tablet seizures in Southeast Asia each year, UNODC said. Over the last 10 years, the countries have reported sharp decreases in average retail prices of the drug.

UNODC suggests organized crime groups are consolidating meth manufacturing in the lower Mekong region, within and around the Golden Triangle, including nations like Cambodia and Vietnam.
https://vodenglish.news/meth-is-more-ch ... n-reports/
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Re: New UN Report Shows Extent of ASEAN Methamphetamine Traffic

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Southeast Asia Beset by Flood of Cheap Methamphetamines, Synthetic Opioids: UN Report
By Roseanne Gerin
2020-05-15

The synthetic drug market in East and Southeast Asia is expanding and diversifying with the price of methamphetamines dropping to its lowest level in the past 10 years, while supplies of synthetic opioids have risen sharply, according to a new report issued Friday by the United Nations drug crimes agency.

The report from the Vienna-based United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says that the number of synthetic opioids identified among illicit drug supplies in the region jumped to 28 in 2019 from three in 2014, and that agents are seizing the substances in new locations as organized crime expands its business.

The report titled “Synthetic Drugs in East and Southeast Asia: Latest Developments and Challenges” says that the variety and volume of synthetic substances have increased in the past year in the region’s thriving illegal drugs business.

“It is hard to imagine that organized crime have again managed to expand the drug market, but they have,” said Jeremy Douglas, UNODC representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, in a written statement.

“While the world has shifted its attention to the COVID-19 pandemic, all indications are that production and trafficking of synthetic drugs and chemicals continue at record levels in the region,” he said.
https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanma ... 72233.html
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Re: New UN Report Shows Extent of ASEAN Methamphetamine Traffic

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As long as they catch the cards players, that's got to be the most important thing.
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Re: New UN Report Shows Extent of ASEAN Methamphetamine Traffic

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COVID-19 No Match for Southeast Asia's Booming Drug Trade
31 August 2020
Zsombor Peter

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA — A string of mammoth drug busts and low street prices for methamphetamine across Southeast Asia this year suggest COVID-19 has done little to stem the flood of illegal drugs washing over the region, even as the pandemic seals borders.

If anything, the coronavirus has proven just how resilient the transnational cartels dominating the meth trade out of Myanmar truly are, experts say.

"We think it's business as usual in 2020, which is to say that supply is still surging just as it has been in the last few years," Jeremy Douglas, Southeast Asia and the Pacific chief for the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, told VOA.

"If Myanmar, Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodia data is any indication — and we think it is — then at least within the Mekong the supply is as high or higher than last year in those countries," he said by phone from Bangkok.

The price is right

Methamphetamine prices across the region last year were already the lowest they had been in a decade, even as the purity of the drugs shot up.

Data compiled by the UNODC during the pandemic show the price of a kilogram of crystal meth, or ice, in Myanmar and Vietnam on par with 2019. In Cambodia, the price of "yaba," a popular mix of meth and caffeine, has actually fallen by roughly half, to less than $1 per pill. The UNODC says Thailand also reported a drop in both ice and yaba prices in late 2019 and early 2020 compared with the same period a year before.
Full article: https://www.voacambodia.com/a/5564683.html
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Re: New UN Report Shows Extent of ASEAN Methamphetamine Traffic

Post by CEOCambodiaNews »

Despite the tough drug laws that exist in many South East Asian countries, no country has been able to stem the growing tide of methamphetamine across the region.

Depressing Déjà vu for Malaysia’s Narcotics Nightmare
40-plus years of tough drug programs have had almost no effect other than filling prisons
Dec 4 2020
By: Murray Hunter

In 1983, in a country where drug use had become an epidemic, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad rammed through what was regarded as some of the world’s toughest drug toughest programs. Authorities developed an intensive two-year rehab program for heroin and opium addicts, then the drug of choice, reorganized and expanded drug enforcement, and enacted the death penalty for minute traces of drugs including marijuana, which much of the world is now legalizing.

Thirty-seven years later, there is little indication that Malaysia’s no-holds-barred battle against drugs has had any effect. Although 200 grams of cannabis can still earn users the death penalty along with 40 grams of cocaine or 15 grams of heroin, statistics indicate there were 142,199 substance abusers and addicts in 2019, a figure believed massively understated. Few of those arrested are traffickers, an indication of possible protection in high places. A recent report by Amnesty International, 44 percent of people sentenced to death for trafficking are poor foreign nationals – drug mules.

Many law enforcement officials believe up to a million Malaysians could be addicted to drugs, a figure widely in use in the mid-1980s and an indication that little has changed. That figure represents almost three percent of the population although it is skewed heavily towards Malay youth, meaning the problem is a good deal more serious. Those aged 19-39 make up 72 percent of the official statistics. Drug-taking in secondary schools is also reported to be rampant among students aged 13 and above.

Malaysia’s illicit drug trade has allowed organized crime, once eliminated from urban and town areas by the authorities, to re-establish across the country in new forms including import cartels and street distribution organizations. This has also provided opportunities for corruption by members of various Malaysian law enforcement authorities. In August 2019, authorities seized US$161 million worth of drugs in a single haul, an indication that the country remains a major transit point for illegal drugs down the peninsula to Indonesia and Australia. Little more than a month ago, police in the Indonesian province of Aceh sized 81 kg of meth and other substances that they said had been transshipped through Malaysia.

Until the 1990s, heroin, other opiate derivatives and marijuana and hashish were the drugs of choice, leading to an HIV epidemic. [sic] However, methamphetamine derivatives shabu, yaba, and ice crept into the hip-pop and techno identities, primarily in urban and town areas. According to some on the frontline, meths use now comprises 75 percent of drug abuse. Other substances like ketamine and cocaine use are on the rise. Much of the distribution of meths-based drugs came to be controlled by local and foreign criminal syndicates, from shop-based locations and social media.

Today, the center of illicit drug usage is rural. Pahang, the big state to the east of Kuala Lumpur, tops the number of registered drug addicts, followed by Kelantan, Terengganu and Perlis, the peninsular northern and east coast states. Malay youths have turned once peaceful and safe rural communities into crime-ridden locales.
Full article: https://www.asiasentinel.com/p/depressi ... -narcotics
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