Sun, Jan 25, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Economic recession leads to increase in smuggling of drugs


Drug trafficking on international flights is on the increase as more people turn to drugs as a source of revenue to help weather the economic slump, the airport police at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport said, citing flights to and from Southeast Asia as the most popular routes used to move drugs.

During the global economic downturn, airport drug enforcement agents said drug trafficking has increased at all levels of society, ranging from the super rich down to blue collar workers.

“People are very uncertain about their future, especially when it is becoming more difficult to earn a living,” said an agent, speaking on condition of anonymity in an interview with the Central News Agency.

Taipei airport customs said that during the fourth quarter of last year alone, there were 55 smuggling busts, 42 of which were drug-related.

A total of 5,740kg of drugs, including marijuana, heroin and methamphetamine, have been confiscated in the last three months, the agents said.

Because of the waning economy, many people succumb to the temptation of drug traffickers and volunteer to be their mules, aviation police said, warning that these people were risking their lives for very little reward.

Customs agents said there have also been cases of addicts smuggling drugs into the country because it was cheaper to smuggle than to buy locally.

Some smuggling methods include hiding packets of powder in their wallets and inside the soles of their shoes.

Ladies sometimes stuff the drugs into their bras or underwear.

The agents have also caught people who hid drugs “internally” by swallowing small bags full of drugs or concealing them up their anus.

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