The heart of the area is Lufeng’s industrial city of 1.7 million people but aside from the Dinosaur Valley Museum, a slew of lively restaurants and the temperate weather, there is not much to attract tourists.
Certain villages in the area have become so notorious for illegal activity that residents reportedly stand guard with AK-47s and handmade grenades, in order to protect their illegal business.
The reputation of the Lufeng is such that people on social media have taken to calling it “the city of ice.”
Last month police conducted what was the latest drug-related raid in the area, seizing 2.4 tonnes of methamphetamine from a village known locally as “the fortress.”
A year ago, raids in the same area proved equally successful with a three tonne seizure of the drug by Chinese authorities.
The difficulty faced by the authorities lies in the huge sums of money to be made in exporting the substance out of Lufeng District, to the rest of the world.
Those controlling the trade in the area only need a single shipment to be a success to turn a giant profit.
Jeremy Douglas is the regional representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and told news.com.au the production of methamphetamine has overtaken other drugs, such as heroin.
“The money generated is significant, the drug traffickers are incredibly wealthy. They are able to corrupt and they do use corruption as a part of their business model. They just build it into the cost,” he said.
“To operate a lab like this, you need a lot of chemicals, which are legitimate, regulated chemicals from the pharmaceutical industry,” Mr. Douglas told the South China Morning Post.
Despite the fact that authorities incinerated 400 tonnes of crystal meth precursors seized in the area just five months ago, plenty more is clearly getting through to the labs.
The Chinese Communist Party has been increasingly proactive in cracking down on widespread corruption, so it’s no surprise that it lies at the heart of the burgeoning meth trade.
A journalist who covers the area for an English language newspaper, but who wished not to be named, told news.com.au that, “generally speaking, it [Lufeng] is considered one of the more corrupt Chinese provinces.”
Another challenge faced by law enforcement is the ease in which manufactures can move the site of production. They will simply shift their activities to take advantage of laws, corrupt officials or other opportunities.
“You can disguise these things as paint factories or anything,” said Mr. Douglas.
On February 18, 2015 two Australian men were charged after 16 kilograms of meth amphetamine was found in a shipment of treadmills coming from China.
And one week later two men from Malaysia and Hong Kong were charged with importing $65 million worth of the drug into Sydney in boxes marked as “kids’s toys.”
Mr. Douglas said these types of trafficking attempts were “highly likely” to have come from Lufeng Province. “Even if the seizure originated from another city, it may also be from there as it might have gone through different networks,” he told news.com.au.
While that number remains unsubstantiated, Mr. Douglas spoke of one bust in Lufeng where a majority of the village likely knew of the lab.
But the illegal activities that have become so common in Lufeng district represent a growing trend in the region.
Since 2006 there has been a fivefold increase in the number of amphetamine type stimulant (ATS) drug busts in East and South East Asia.
Last week, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) released their annual report and called the expansion of illicit amphetamine-type stimulants “the biggest concern in East and Southeast Asia.”
Due to its price and accessibility, methamphetamine has taken on a new form of popularity in Australia. The drug is even gaining a growing number of middle class users.
While it might be disproportionately emanating from a province is the south of China, as long as the demand remains, methamphetamine is likely to keep turning up on our shores.
news.com.au 11 Mar 2015
So, why are the authorities not doing anything about it?
That's right, because they're involved in the drug business.
The drug business in Australia is worth approximately $200 million per week.
In order to make an impact on the illicit drug trade, the authorities need to step up their work.
If they are not doing this, then they are 'supporting' the flow of drugs into the hands of the masses.
The authorities are also supporting Chinese 'investors' who obtain their funds from the illicit drug trade to invest in Australia, in effect selling 'us' out.