Author`s name Pravda.Ru

China to tighten controls on chemicals smuggled out to make illegal drugs

China said Thursday it will tighten controls on chemicals used for illegal drugs producing, acknowledging that Chinese-made raw materials were flooding into Southeast Asia.

"The amount of precursor chemicals smuggled into the Golden Triangle area is startling," said a report issued by the National Narcotics Control Commission, referring to the drug-producing region of Laos, northern Thailand and Myanmar.

China legally produces all 23 chemicals listed by the United Nations as ingredients in narcotic and psychotropic drugs, while the Golden Triangle has "no developed chemical industry," the report said.

Chinese chemicals have also been smuggled into the Netherlands, Belgium and Poland, it said.

New rules due to take effect on Nov. 1 will more strictly regulate the production, purchase and transportation of the chemicals used in drug-making, the government said.

For example, chemical factories must install video cameras and alarms in order to be eligible for production licenses for certain substances, and trucks carrying the chemicals will need special government-issued permits.

China produces chemicals used to make heroin _ such as acetic anhydride, chloroform and ethyl ether _ as well as ephedrine, acetone and other ingredients used in designer drugs such ecstasy and methamphetamine, popularly known as "ice," the government said.

Chinese authorities shut down 27 methamphetamine and ecstasy labs in the first seven months of the year, said Yang Fengrui, deputy secretary-general of the Narcotics Control Commission.

But Yang said that as Beijing cracks down, drug producers simply move to other countries.

And "although supplies of traditional illicit drugs like heroin in the Golden Triangle are decreasing, the drug mafias in those areas are shifting from heroin into `ice'," he said at a news conference.

Chinese authorities seized 131.9 tons (145 short tons) of smuggled drug-making chemicals in the first nine months of this year, in a widening crackdown, he said, reports the AP.