90 years old, smuggling drugs
The Mail & Guardian online reports on the capture of a 90-year-old Taiwanese man working as a "drug mule." Thailand's improved policing of drug trafficking has increased the flow of methamphetamines and heroin out of Cambodia. Story here.
Speaking of food, I'll have the heroin fish and chips
A MAN has appeared in court charged over the alleged attempted import of about $2 million of heroin found hidden inside fish fillets.
Anh Kiet Tran, 40, from Sydney appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates Court today charged with importing a border controlled drug.
It was alleged Customs officers at Brisbane Airport found the drug when they inspected Mr Tran's luggage after he arrived on a flight from Cambodia yesterday.
200 proof packs a punch
Japan Today reports that two Russian crew members of a Cambodian-registered freighter died and two others were hospitalized after drinking alcohol for industrial use, the Japan Coast Guard said early Saturday. The coast guard said Sergey Nadtochy, 45, and Daurenbay Dzhetenov, 38, died. Two other crew members complained of diarrhea and headache and were taken to a hospital in Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture. The two surviving crew members said they and the two fellow crew members were having drinks believing the substance was drinkable alcohol, according to the coast guard.
Aussie to hang for heroin smuggling
A 25-YEAR-OLD Melbourne man who said he smuggled heroin in an effort to pay off his twin brother's debts will within days become the first Australian to be executed in Singapore after a final presidential appeal for clemency was rejected.
Nguyen Tuong Van is expected to be hanged within 10 days, despite pleas for mercy to Singaporean President Sellapan Rama Nathan by John Howard, Governor-General Michael Jeffery and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer.
Nguyen was sentenced to death last year. He had been caught with 396g of heroin strapped to his back and in his hand luggage while in transit at Singapore's Changi airport in December 2002, on his way from Cambodia to Melbourne.
Opium in South-East Asia (article)
Foster, Anne L. “Prohibition as Superiority: Policing Opium in South-East Asia, 1898-1925.” The International History Review 22:2 (2000), 253-273.
Track marks to death
The Australian reports (3 March 2005) that what began as a journey designed to end in the back alleys of inner-city Sydney - high-grade heroin cut down and shelled out to hollowed-eyed men and women for $50 a cap - finished instead in a blaze of publicity at Denpasar International Airport in the tourist centre of Bali, with nine young Australians facing the prospect of the firing squad.
But while the "Bali Nine" never got off the ground for the final leg to Sydney, the 8.3kg of heroin strapped to the stomachs and thighs of four couriers had already travelled thousands of kilometres and passed through hundreds of hands.
Like most heroin trafficking that originates in poppy fields in the fertile mountains of Southeast Asia, the journey that finished on the body of a mule began on the back of a donkey. Australian Federal Police chief Mick Keelty named Burma, part of the infamous Golden Triangle encompassing Laos and northern Thailand, as the origin of the Bali Nine's haul. The University of NSW's National Alcohol and Drug Research Centre's senior lecturer, Louisa Degenhardt, estimates 95 per cent of Australia's heroin is produced in the Golden Triangle - and the "vast majority" of that is from Burma.
With Australians unable to cultivate opium poppies at home, but consuming three to eight tonnes of heroin annually, this has been the case for many years, Dr Degenhardt says.
Find the full story here.
Betel and Oral Cancer
For Science News, Diana Parsell reports on the link between oral cancer and betel chewing. She also notes that betel-chewing, while in decline in Thailand and Cambodia, is on the rise in Taiwan, India, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom. Here's her report, "Palm-Nut Problem: Asian Chewing Habit Linked to Oral Cancer," from page 43 of volume 167, number 3 (January 15, 2005).This and more betel nut links can be found at Boing Boing, which has taken an interest in the drug.