Thursday, February 9, 2012

South Korean drugs increasingly North Korean in origin

It looks like some politicians are waking up to the potential for drug trafficking from North Korea to become a serious problem:
Yoon, who sits on the National Assembly Foreign Affairs, Trade and Unification Committee, said trafficking along the North Korea-China border was increasing and that some 57 percent of the 8,200 grams of foreign-produced methamphetamine seized in the South in 2010 came from China. “It is estimated that a large part of that comes from the North,” he said.

“The imported drugs not only directly harm people in South Korea and China, but they are a deadly threat to the social fabric.”

The North has long been known as a source of narcotics trafficking around the world.

If the prevalence estimated by Yoon holds true, the infiltration of the drugs not only complicates matters for police but could also represents the influence of Pyongyang’s shady security apparatus in the South at a time of lingering tension.

Yoon pinpointed the notorious Office 39 of Pyongyang’s ruling Workers’ Party, which specializes in a range of illicit economic activity to support the regime, as overseeing the operations and that key sections of the army had been charged with production and distribution.

The bureau is regarded as a slush fund creator for the late ruler Kim Jong-il and a key financial support system for Pyongyang’s elite.

He said the three provinces of Northeast China — Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang — had become hotbeds for trafficking the North’s drugs. Reports say it is facilitated by groups from both Koreas as well as China that often work together.
Do we want to be awash in a sea of tweakers? Maybe pot-smoking English teachers are looking pretty good right now. (I kid! I kid! Please don't send me letters.)

One would hope that China would have woken up to this problem by now (since it spills over into their territory as well) and try to put a stop to it (or at least rein it in).


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