November 20th, 2011
11:42 PM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) - As mainland Chinese discover expensive wines and luxury cars from the west, so too grows the demand for illegal drugs such as cocaine.

And this booming trade uses Hong Kong as a conduit between Latin American producers and the burgeoning mainland China market. On September 18, local police arrested eight individuals, one of them a U.S. citizen, in connection with a 567-kilogram seizure worth around US$77 million in the local market.

“Historically, Hong Kong has been the center of drug trafficking in this region,” said Simon Young, Director of the Center for Comparative Law at the University of Hong Kong.

Amounts found by authorities have been increasingly large in the territory over the last years. A recent report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes said they expect consumption in Mainland China to continue its rise.

Hong Kong’s relatively lenient laws for trafficking – with no capital punishment for offenders –is one of its comparative advantages for serving the China market, according to Young. The city’s status as a financial hub also makes it  a convenient center for money laundering.

“There’s enormous amounts of drug proceeds that go through this jurisdiction,” Young told CNN.

And Hong Kong’s streets illustrate its increasing status as a Latin American cocaine entrepôt.

“There’s more cocaine available, so the price is dropping,” Angel Li, Education Officer at the NGO Community Drug Advisory Council, told CNN. Current street price of cocaine in China is US$50, down from US$150 a gram.

Last week, six of the eight arrested in September appeared in Tuen Mun district court. The prosecution requested the trial be postponed, arguing that local authorities had been unable to analyze the half a ton of narcotics now in their custody in the nine weeks between the seizure and court hearing.

As mainland demand for cocaine grows, it’s likely Hong Kong law enforcement officials will face more problems like this so long as the city is the port of choice for the China drug trade.

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Filed under: BusinessChinaHong Kong


soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Nuno

    Oh babies !
    you chineese are just like us in the west
    you will fall like we did

    November 21, 2011 at 1:06 am |
  2. Zsolt

    I do not think we should be surprised, after all the Chinese are the same human beings as anybody else.
    Actually their situation is even more difficult than that of the western countries.
    While Europe had hundreds of years to go through a gradual evolution and economical and social development, and even the US had several decades, China, India and other rapidly developing countries go through those positive and negative changes much faster, thus most probably the negative impact on the social life, and environment in general will be much sharper, more pronounced as well.
    We humans do everything excessively, driven by our selfish desire for self fulfillment running into trouble in between each other and with our environment.
    The only "good" news is that the deepening global crisis will not allow these countries to go to the full extent of social degradation, and break down as it happened in the western societies with the enormous amount of depression, family breakdown, suicide rate and drug abuse and social inequalities.
    Through the collapse of the present economical and possibly political system all around the world we will regain our freedom from the slavery that the excessive production and consumption brought on us.
    Although at first we will live through the crisis and crash as a negative event, soon we will realize that the new free life, based on necessities, mutual, and equal global collaboration will give us back the chance to prosper in the most important aspect of human life: in building human relationships.

    November 21, 2011 at 1:35 am |
  3. mumphLT

    And these people that are doing coke in HK & China – how much trouble have they actually caused whilst they've been doing it?
    Because – I haven't heard of any.
    So – what actually is the problem?

    November 21, 2011 at 1:52 am |
  4. octopus

    >Zsolt: "...most important aspect of human life: in building human relationships."

    Which means partying like crazy and doing a lot of blow. Good point!

    November 21, 2011 at 1:52 am |
  5. octopus

    >mumphLT: the problem is that they buy coke instead of alcohol which makes a lot of people unhappy.

    November 21, 2011 at 1:56 am |
  6. tom

    Also see http://www.danwei.org/crime/coked_up_bankers_of_hong_kong.php

    November 21, 2011 at 2:54 am |
  7. Mazeman

    cocaine .. God's way of saying you have too much money ..

    November 21, 2011 at 3:02 am |
  8. steve

    but getting into mainland china must be risky. the Chinese have zero tolerance for drugs i think, pretty much automatic death penalty

    November 21, 2011 at 3:03 am |
  9. anonymous

    Mainland China has drugs all over the place...its easy to buy and use...no one gives a crap as long as it is under control...

    November 21, 2011 at 3:54 am |
  10. Tom

    What actually is the problem? What if it was your son or daughter strung out, their life degenerating down the cesspool? Oh, and what about crime? It does take just a little bit of cash to purchase the drugs. Usually more than one can make on a decent salary, which, by the way, you won't have because it takes a JOB to earn a salary, a job you won't have because you're always doped up! THINK PEOPLE!

    November 21, 2011 at 5:20 am |
  11. Jose

    I don't think it will be a major issue in China, unlike in the West or in countries where there are light penalties for the dealing and using drugs. In China, the time between you getting arrested, charged, convicted and shot for drug dealing is on a matter of several months. This is how they deal with criminals in China, which is a major deterrent to rampant criminal activities. If you get caught, you can forget about leniency, plea-bargaining, appeals, rehabilitation, extended death roll, fair trial or any special offers from the court. It's pretty much, get caught, go to court, get shot.

    November 21, 2011 at 5:40 am |
  12. gmoney

    China finally hit the American 80s... soon they will catch up to us!

    November 21, 2011 at 7:25 am |
  13. Arthur

    You should check the math: According to the article the drugs (567 kilos) were worth 77 mil at local sales price – then just below it says that the local cost per gram is now 50 USD. so 50$ * 1000g * 567 kilograms = $28,350,000 – significant difference I would say. Where did the 77 million come from?

    November 21, 2011 at 8:05 am |
  14. Michael

    Hey bro, want to buy a gram of brow?

    November 21, 2011 at 8:26 am |
  15. Strangewalk

    In modern China everything happens fast, and dope saturation will happen much faster than in the West–in fact it already is. Drug money corrupts everything it touches, nothing is immune, and China's history shows that it's three big vulnerabilities to vice are dope, money and gambling. In addition, China today is awash in cash with no place to go.

    November 21, 2011 at 8:50 am |
  16. drew

    How stupid are governments across the world? After almost 100 years of drug prohibition, drugs are now less expensive are more readily available than ever before. The war on drugs is a complete failure that only grows worse with each passing year. It is time for a new strategy. Even when the penalty is death, is it not enough to discourage traffickers. What else can you take from a person that is more important then their life?

    November 21, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  17. Mac

    Mainland China will soon move to control the "liberties" Hong Kong has been enjoying. I'm sure no one want's a drug dealer living next door especially if you're the landlord.

    November 21, 2011 at 11:30 am |
  18. Kyle H. Davis

    Anyone who has ever read my comments about China, know I'm not one to defend them unless it is necessary... I bash them 99.999% of the time (I live in China, it begs to be bashed). However, that being said... There was nothing in this article that gave any indication that these drugs were intended for the mainland. What, Hong Kong does not have a drug market?

    Those are some pretty strong words (and headline) for nothing more than an assumption.

    November 21, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
  19. Dan

    Why is this surprising? Did people forget about the opium trade back in the days? Drugs never disappeared in China! It's been part of the scene for ages, especially during Shanghai's glory days in the 1930's. The only difference is that drug use in China is a symbol of luxury whereas in the west it's recreational, and often a Rite of Passage. Yunnan province produces anything and everything you can name. Get on that!

    November 21, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  20. Bill

    The lure of easy money stillhas strong appeal

    November 22, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  21. Cuervo Jones

    slaves need the coke to work 70 hr weeks, bad diet, and pollution

    November 23, 2011 at 12:00 am |
  22. Ben

    Hey everyone remember when the CIA was busted numerous times for using "drop zones" during the Clinton days?
    All propaganda hood or bad is still propaganda.

    November 23, 2011 at 3:39 am |
  23. Jimbo

    good luck figuring out the real coke from the fake coke

    November 24, 2011 at 8:45 am |
  24. Jenny

    Terribly written and boring. I thought this would explore the real thing. What's happening to CNN's exciting stories? Is this stuff being written by interns????

    January 27, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
  25. anon

    we export real colombian fishscale to asia info at member25280@cmail.nu 100% legit offer

    March 24, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
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    ??? + ? ???? ?? ?? http://www.bag-unfairs.com

    August 15, 2013 at 2:04 am |

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