In this undated photo, customs officers check importing cars in Xinsha Customs in Dongguan, south China's Guangdong province. (CHEN CHUBIN / CHINADAILY.COM.CN)
Guangzhou Customs has vowed to introduce more effective and concrete measures to prevent people from smuggling drugs inside their bodies as the number of such cases increases.
We will never relax our vigilance fighting against drug smuggling, which has been the top priority of the customs department
Bureau of Anti-Smuggling of Guangzhou Customs
Zheng Jun, deputy director of the Bureau of Anti-Smuggling of Guangzhou Customs, said there has been a reduction in the number of drug smuggling cases involving passengers' carry-on bags and mailed items after great efforts have been made to crack down on such methods.
"But cases involving the use of human bodies as vessels to smuggle drugs now represent a bigger part of the total drug smuggling cases investigated and fought by Guangzhou Customs in recent years," Zheng said at a news conference in Guangzhou on Wednesday.
To this end, Customs departments in the southern metropolis will strengthen cooperation and exchanges of information with foreign counterparts in the fight against the smuggling method to prevent drugs from entering the country and to help construct a safe, social environment, Zheng said.
Li Si, a senior customs officer with the Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, said customs officers from the airport, one of the three busiest in the country, have investigated nine cases of people using their bodies to smuggle drugs in the first eight months of the year.
"More than a dozen kilograms of drugs have been seized after cracking down on such cases," Li said.
On Aug 30, customs officers found an Angolan man and woman with dozens of small bags of suspected drugs inside their bodies during CT examinations at a hospital after they detained the pair, who arrived at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the same flight.
The man later discharged a total of 60 pills of suspected drugs while the woman discharged another 80. All told, the contents weighed nearly 1.7 kilograms.
The pair admitted to using their bodies to smuggle drugs when the pills they discharged were later confirmed to contain cocaine.
Between January and August, Guangzhou Customs officers detained 15 suspects in 38 drug smuggling cases and seized 17.3 kilograms of various drugs. Marijuana and cocaine are the drugs most often seized by customs officers.
"We will never relax our vigilance fighting against drug smuggling, which has been the top priority of the customs department," Zheng said.
Zheng made his remarks after Guangzhou Customs on Wednesday burned 312 kilograms of various drugs seized by customs officers in recent years. The drugs included 201.6 kilograms of khat, a plant that is a fairly mild narcotic.
Khat is mainly planted in Ethiopia, Kenya and other African countries, as well as some nations in the Arabian Peninsula.
Other drugs that were burned include heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana, Zheng added.
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