Police Raid ‘Fortress’ of Drug Production in South China
By Mia Li, NY Times, January 3, 2014
The police in the southeastern province of Guangdong raided a village they called a “fortress” of methamphetamine manufacturing that was protected by local Communist Party and law enforcement officials and criminals armed with assault rifles. Three tons of methamphetamines were seized along with more than 100 tons of methamphetamine ingredients and 260 kilograms, or 570 pounds, of ketamine, they said.
More than 3,000 police officers flooded Boshe village in Lufeng County on Sunday, capturing 182 alleged drug ring members and destroying 77 methamphetamine labs, the Guangdong Police announced at a news conference on Thursday.
The police said Lufeng County had been a key site for methamphetamine manufacturing, churning out an estimated one-third of China’s domestically produced supplies of the drug in recent years. Boshe, nicknamed “the fortress of Lufeng,” was considered the epicenter of production, they said.
More than 20 percent of the 1,700 households in the village produced methamphetamine and other drugs for a living, the Guangdong Police said.
Drug manufacturing in Boshe was “organized by families, managed as an industry and protected by the locals,” Guo Shaobo, deputy chief of the Guangdong Public Security Bureau, said at the news conference. Eighteen of Guangdong’s most wanted drug criminals had been living in the village, he said.
Cai Dongjia, Boshe’s party chief, previously manufactured methamphetamine before becoming a protector of the local drug rings, the police said. Mr. Cai was the first to be captured in the raid. Altogether, 14 party officials and local police officers were arrested for protecting the drug labs.
Methamphetamine manufacturing has become so rampant in Boshe that the village party committee erected a sign at the garbage-collection site in the village that reads “discarding of meth lab garbage is forbidden,” according to the state-run Legal Daily newspaper.
Located near the coast, the village of Boshe is a collection of traditional Cantonese-style houses “standing in the moonlight emitting a nose-piercing smell of acids,” wrote a Legal Daily reporter who went along on the raid. The village became so polluted with chemicals for drug manufacturing that the groundwater could not be used for farming, the newspaper said.
Although the police said the drug manufacturers were armed with several guns including AK-47s, no weapons were fired during the raid.
The police first began cracking down on drug labs in Lufeng County in 2011, but manufacturing continued because of local official protection. Officials from the Guangdong Police told the Nanfang Daily that they had attempted many times in the past year to conduct investigations in Boshe, but were verbally abused or even encountered violent resistance from locals. Mr. Cai, the village party chief, would use his influence as a member of the people’s congress of Shantou municipality to free arrested suspects, the police said.