Southeast Asia and the Pacific


I. Summary

Australia is a committed partner in international efforts to combat illicit drugs. Australia is a consumer, rather than a producer, nation. There is no evidence of narcotics destined for the U.S. transiting Australia. U.S. and Australian law enforcement agencies have excellent cooperation on narcotics matters. Drug policy is an issue of increasing importance in domestic affairs in Australia, with the passage of state legislation allowing for safe heroin injecting rooms (clean needles provided, no prosecution for drug offenses) in two Australian cities; implementation of this legislation has been delayed, however. Australia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in Australia. According to a 1998 survey for Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), nearly 40 percent of Australians over the age of 14 have used the drug at least once, with 17 percent having used it in the last 12 months. The survey revealed that 46 percent of all Australians report having used at least one illicit drug in their lives, with 22 percent having done so in the previous year. Australia has also seen a growth in the use of the synthetic drug Ecstasy: a recent survey by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Center (NDARC) found that 20 percent of men surveyed ages 20 to 29 and 10 percent of women in that age group had tried the drug.

Heroin use is on the rise in Australia. 2.2 percent of all Australians reported using heroin in the 1998 AIHW survey, up from 1.4 percent in 1995. Among men aged 20-29, 6.2 percent reported heroin use in 1998, up from 3.6 percent three years earlier. The state of New South Wales (NSW) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) have passed legislation allowing for the creation of "safe heroin injecting rooms." Neither state has actually established a safe injecting room, due to numerous procedural and legal hurdles.

III. Country Action Against Drugs in 2000

Policy Initiatives. The government's comprehensive drug strategy remains the "Tough on Drugs" program first announced by Prime Minister John Howard in 1997. Since its inception, more than U.S.$250 million has been spent on implementation of the strategy, according to the Prime Minister's office. Drug policy remains an issue in which both the federal and state governments have a role. This leads to variations in laws and punishments across Australia.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Law enforcement agencies continued aggressive antinarcotics law enforcement activities in 2000. Responsibility for these efforts is divided between the federal and state governments, with the various law enforcement agencies generally working well together.

According to a report from Australian Customs, from July 1999 to December 2000, Customs seized 717 kilograms of cocaine, 269 kilograms of heroin and 144 kilograms of ecstasy. The most significant seizures of the year 2000 were a 317 kilograms shipment of cocaine seized in Sydney and, in late December, 184 kilograms of heroin. Police also seized Australia's two largest shipments of ecstasy ever: 76 kilograms in January and 105 kilograms in December 2000. In a report issued in March 1999, the Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence (ABCI) reported that between July 1, 1997 and June 30, 1998, federal and state/territory enforcement authorities seized 320.9 kilograms of heroin and other opiates, 103.1 kilograms of cocaine, and 182.2 kilograms of methamphetamine and other amphetamines.

The AFP has established a number of overseas liaison posts to assist in narcotics-related investigations. These liaison officers, particularly those in the Pacific Island nations, also assist local law enforcement agencies in training and institution building. The AFP, both in country and overseas, has a close working relationship with U.S. agencies, such as DEA and FBI. In October, the AFP, in conjunction with other international law enforcement agencies, played a central role in the seizure of 357 kilos of Southeast Asian heroin in Fiji. This was Australia's first direct enforcement activity outside its borders. The Australian government is working through the court system to extradite a prominent Mexican money launderer back to Mexico pursuant to that country's request. In 2000, Australia transferred to the U.S. three persons wanted for narcotics crimes.

Corruption. The Australian government is vigilant in its efforts to prevent narcotics related corruption. There is no indication of any senior official of the government facilitating the production or distribution of illicit drugs or aiding in the laundering of proceeds from such activities.

Agreements and Treaties. The U.S. and Australia cooperate in law enforcement matters under a bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty and an extradition treaty. Australia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The USG has concluded a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) with Australia. Australia signed the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime in December, 2000.

Cultivation/Production. The only significant illicit cultivation in Australia is cannabis, which remains at less than 5,000 hectares throughout the country. Australia has a significant licit opium crop, primarily on the island of Tasmania. Controls against diversion of that crop are excellent.

Drug Flow/Transit. Australia has been and continues to be a target for Southeast Asian heroin trafficking organizations and South American cocaine traffickers. The U.S. Embassy continues to monitor the possibility of these drugs transiting Australia to the U.S., but to date there has been no information that this is occurring.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

U.S. Policy Initiatives. The primary U.S. counternarcotics activities in Australia remain looking for signs of traffic from Australia to the U.S. and providing mutual assistance and sharing intelligence in an effort to disrupt and dismantle international trafficking organizations. Cooperation between U.S. and Australian authorities in achieving these goals is excellent.

The Road Ahead. Australia shows no sign of lessening its commitment to the international fight against drug trafficking, particularly in Southeast Asia. The U.S. can expect to enjoy excellent bilateral relations with Australia on the counternarcotics front and the two countries should work well together in UNDCP and other multilateral fora.


I. Summary

Brunei Darussalam does not produce or consume narcotic drugs in significant quantities. Drug-related problems are relatively minor although in the past few years there has been a steady increase in drug use and drug-related arrests. There are no indications that Brunei is being used for major transshipment of illegal drugs or for money laundering. The Brunei government has a vital, proactive antidrug program led by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB). The Brunei government actively participates in regional activities and multilateral antidrug fora and has made substantial progress in strengthening laws pertaining to narcotics-related crime. Brunei is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Contact and cooperation with regional U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officials has been positive.

II. Status of Country

The quantity of illegal drugs coming to or transiting Brunei is relatively small. Brunei authorities report there is no evidence of drug syndicates operating in the country. Brunei's borders are coastlines and dense jungles intersected by rivers, making it difficult to patrol. Of primary concern to the GOB are numerous small islands in the Brunei Bay area that are Malaysian territory, and therefore out of Brunei's jurisdiction. Undocumented and unregulated illegal immigrants inhabit these islands. These illegal immigrants, thought by the NCB to be predominantly Filipino, are cited as a primary source of illegal drugs entering Brunei. Although the NCB cooperates with the GOB military and other agencies, they do not currently have adequate maritime capabilities to interdict or inspect daily inter-island boat traffic. The GOB has informally broached the "island problem" subject in bilateral police meetings with the Government of Malaysia (GOM).

Methamphetamines are the most commonly used illegal drugs, followed by cannabis.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2000

Law Enforcement Efforts. Brunei's Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), which leads the country's counternarcotics efforts, believes that it lacks adequate funding. Its trained staff is dedicated, professional and, although small, efficiently performs investigative and enforcement activities. Cooperation between the NCB, police, customs, and other agencies involved in counternarcotics is excellent.

Brunei vigorously prosecutes those arrested for narcotics offenses. According to GOB statistics through 10/30/2000, there has been a 21 percent increase in drug-related arrests in Brunei (from 46.5 arrests per month to 56.4 arrests per month) from 1999 to 2000. These are significant statistics, given the small population of Brunei (approximately 338,000, including 40,000 in the capital Bandar Seri Begawan where most of the arrests occurred), and the distraction of the police by the year-long security preparations for the hosting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings held there in November 2000. APEC was a gigantic undertaking for the GOB and significantly impacted on the attention and resources of the police, including the NCB. Like its neighbors, Malaysia and Singapore, Brunei has a well-publicized death penalty for possession of heroin for the purpose of trafficking (more than 30 grams), for marijuana (more than 600 grams), for cocaine (more than 40 grams), and most recently for possession and trafficking in methamphetamine (more than 250 grams). As in Malaysia and Singapore, this tough policy on drugs appears to have a significant deterrent effect.

Policy Initiatives. Money laundering legislation was still undergoing legal review in late 1999, but the Brunei government announced that a law would be put into place soon. Anticipating such a law, in 1999 Brunei authorities initiated a cooperative effort with regional money laundering experts.

Brunei participates in ASEAN and other regional antidrug fora, and regularly cooperates with the Malaysian government in counternarcotics operations along common borders. Brunei drug officials also maintain regular contact with counterparts in Singapore, Thailand, and Australia.

Agreements and Treaties. There are no bilateral law enforcement treaties between the U.S. and Brunei. Brunei is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Drug Flow/Transit. The Brunei government appears concerned about Brunei becoming a transit point for precursor chemicals but has not developed a preventive strategy yet.

Demand Reduction. The Brunei government operates one drug rehabilitation facility, which accommodates approximately 250 (voluntary and involuntary) residents. Recent government focus has been on demand reduction activities, especially targeting the use of crystal methamphetamine, known locally as syabu. In 2000 the Brunei government funded school and village programs with antidrug messages geared to six to 17-year-old students and their parents.

Corruption. There is no indication of drug-related corruption in Brunei.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. During 2000 the Narcotics Control Bureau and police have attended training courses at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok. NCB personnel recently attended a money-laundering seminar hosted by DEA in Singapore. There is excellent ad hoc cooperation with the regional DEA presence in Singapore. The recent shift by the USG to partial self-funding of Brunei participants at ILEA has had a significant negative impact on GOB participation. In spite of the obvious benefits, it is likely that GOB interest in attending ILEA will further wane when Brunei is asked to fully fund their participation. In Brunei the budget process is cumbersome to begin with, and—after recent financial problems—the GOB is remaining fiscally conservative.

The Road Ahead. The NCB continues to request further training, including technical training in a wide range of antinarcotics law enforcement techniques. Brunei needs to remain vigilant against the amphetamine-type stimulant epidemic that has beset the rest of Asia.


I. Summary

Burma remains the world's second largest producer of illicit opium and heroin. Since 1996, however, production of both heroin and opium in Burma has steadily declined due to Burmese government eradication efforts and adverse weather conditions in major poppy growing areas. Cultivation of opium poppy expanded in 2000 to 108,700 hectares, a 21 percent increase over the 89,500 hectares under cultivation in 1999. The increase primarily resulted from better germination in existing fields and only secondarily from increased planting. Because of localized bad weather, Burma produced 1,085 metric tons of opium in 2000, a decrease of 5 metric tons from the 1,090 metric tons produced in 1999. Production of methamphetamines has skyrocketed over the past few years. Burmese counternarcotics officers continued to seize heroin and methamphetamines, but total seizures of both narcotics declined in 2000. Overall, in 2000 the Burmese seized approximately 27 million methamphetamine tablets, compared with nearly 29 million seized in 1999. Heroin seizures declined from approximately 273 kilograms in 1999 to 171 kilograms in 2000. Opium seizures increased slightly to 1,528 kilograms in 2000 from 1,445 kilograms in 1999.

The Government of Burma (GOB) continued to pursue and arrest individual drug traffickers in 2000, including members of some former insurgent groups, but has been unwilling or unable to take on the most powerful groups directly. The cease-fire agreements that the government has signed with these insurgent groups often implicitly condone their continued participation in narcotics production and trafficking, at least over the short term.

Burma is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Second only to Afghanistan, Burma remains one of the world's largest producers of illicit opium. Burmese opium production doubled in 1989, the year after the current military regime took power, and remained high throughout the early 1990s. Since 1996, however, opium production has declined sharply to levels that are now less than half Burma's annual production during the early 1990s. Burma has become a major source of methamphetamines trafficked throughout the region.

Burma currently accounts for approximately 80 percent of Southeast Asia's opium production, and 20 percent of the world's production. Most of the opium is produced in Burma's Shan State, particularly in areas under the control of former insurgent groups. Since 1989, the government has negotiated cease-fire agreements with most of the former insurgent groups that control these areas, offering them limited autonomy and development assistance in exchange for peace. In negotiating these agreements, the regime's highest priority has been to end the ethnic conflicts and achieve some measure of national integration. Narcotics control has been a lesser priority, and many of the cease-fire agreements have permitted former insurgents to continue their involvement in narcotics cultivation and trafficking activities. The cease-fire agreements have also had the practical effect of condoning money laundering. The government has encouraged former insurgent groups to invest in "legitimate" businesses and some have used the opportunity to launder money through investments in banks, hotels and construction companies.

The former insurgent groups with whom the government has negotiated cease-fire agreements, including the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA—Kokang Chinese), remain armed and heavily involved in the heroin trade and in the manufacturing and distribution of synthetic drugs. They are also largely immune from government action. To cite only one example, under the terms of the cease-fire agreement, Burmese troops cannot even enter Wa territory without permission from the UWSA.

Many of the leaders of these ethnic groups are involved in the heroin and/or amphetamine trade. They include Peng Jiasheng and Liu Goushi of the MNDAA; Pao Yuqiang, Li Zuru, and Wei Xuekang of the UWSA; Mahtu Naw of the Kachin Defense Army (KDA); and Yawd Serk of the Shan State Army South (SSA South), also known as the Shan United Revolutionary Army (SURA), which was formerly part of drug lord Chang Qifu's Mong Tai Army. Chang Qifu disbanded his army in January 1996 in return for generous terms of surrender, which allowed him to avoid criminal prosecution. U Sai Lin (Lin Mingxian) of the Eastern Shan State Army (ESSA) has been listed in previous years as a major narco-insurgent leader, but he has successfully rid his area of opium cultivation. There are no current, confirmed reports of U Sai Lin or the ESSA still being involved in narcotics trafficking, although it is likely that ESSA territory is a trafficking route because of its location along the border with China. Mon Sa La, the former head of the Mong Ko Defense Army, is now in custody in Burma, and the Mong Ko Defense Army has been destroyed.

There is reason to believe that money laundering in Burma and the return of narcotics profits laundered elsewhere are significant factors in the overall Burmese economy, although the extent is difficult to measure accurately. Political and economic constraints on legal capital inflows magnify the importance of narcotics-derived funds in the economy. An under-regulated banking system and ineffective money laundering legislation have created a business and investment environment conducive to the use of drug-related proceeds in legitimate commerce.

Drug abuse—in particular intravenous drug use—is on the rise in Burma and is accompanied by an alarming spread of the HIV/AIDS virus, especially in the ethnic minority areas that are the source of the drugs. HIV/AIDS infection rates in gem and jade mining areas are particularly high. The GOB has not taken decisive action against the spread of HIV/AIDS.

In the past five years, as overt military challenges to Rangoon's authority from the ethnic groups have eased, the government has increased its counternarcotics enforcement efforts. In 1997 the GOB garrisoned troops on a year-round basis in the Kokang region, and in November 2000 the Burmese military occupied Mong Ko. The GOB has only a token presence in Wa territory, however.

Under pressure from the government, the MNDAA, the KDA, and the MDA in Shan State had declared their intention to establish opium-free zones in territory under their control by the year 2000. Unable to meet that deadline, those groups have now pledged to achieve that goal in 2001. The ESSA has declared its territory an opium-free zone. The Wa have announced their territory will be an opium-free zone by the year 2005.

Ethnic groups have made "opium-free" pledges since 1989, but, with the exception of the Kachin State and ESSA territory, results have been limited. The long tradition of opium cultivation in northern Shan State, the lack of viable alternatives for some farmers, and the sheer profitability of growing opium intensify the extent of the problem. Accordingly, meaningful poppy crop reduction and eventual elimination of opium production in these areas will require considerable eradication, law-enforcement, and alternative-development efforts by the GOB, supplemented, where possible, by the international community. The government will also need to strengthen its commitment to provide resources for the counternarcotics effort and to foster increased cooperation between the government and the ethnic groups involved in production and trafficking.

The GOB has stated that it would bolster eradication efforts by providing development assistance, infrastructure improvements, and advice on crop substitution. The GOB has also requested assistance from the U.S. Government (USG) in verifying whether these groups fulfill their commitments. Exchange of information on opium cultivation throughout Burma now occurs during the joint USG-GOB year-by-year opium poppy survey. The GOB has also asked China for assistance in curbing narcotics trafficking and has established a regular forum with China for discussing counternarcotics cooperation.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs

Policy Initiatives. During 2000, the Government of Burma pursued a cautious, low-risk counternarcotics program. The GOB introduced no new counternarcotics policies and continued to exert little direct pressure on major drug organizations, particularly the UWSA. Counternarcotics authorities made little attempt to seize drugs or destroy heroin and/or methamphetamine factories in UWSA-controlled territories.

Burmese counternarcotics efforts in 1999 and 2000 produced new legislation designating caffeine a drug precursor, and initial efforts to draft more comprehensive money laundering legislation.

With encouragement from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and U.S. Embassies in Rangoon and Bangkok, the Burmese and Thai governments agreed to undertake joint operations against drug trafficking along Thailand's northern border with Burma. The long-standing agreement has yet to be implemented, however. Operation of a joint antidrug task force in Tachilek, Burma, and Mae Sai, Thailand has been hindered by political tensions between Burma and Thailand.

The Burmese government maintains its refusal to render drug lord Chang Qifu to the U.S. on the grounds that he had not violated his 1996 surrender agreement. The agreement reportedly stipulated that if Chang Qifu ended his insurgency and retired from the drug trade, the GOB would provide him with security in Rangoon and allow him to conduct legitimate business. Burmese authorities assert that he will continue to enjoy immunity from prosecution in Burma and exemption from rendition to another country as long as he does not violate his surrender agreement. This issue remains a source of friction between Burma and the U.S. The 1988 UN Drug Convention obligates parties, including Burma, to prosecute such traffickers. GOB officials have stated they would be willing to prosecute Chang Qifu or his subordinates, if it can be proven that they have engaged in narcotics trafficking after the surrender agreement was signed.

The military regime, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), has affirmed its intention to implement the ongoing "Master Plan for the Development of Border Areas and National Races." The plan calls for a program of integrated development combined with law enforcement aimed at improving living standards in the ethnic areas and viable economic alternatives to opium poppy cultivation. Few GOB resources have been devoted to the program, however. As a result, health, education, and infrastructure in border areas remain poor, and the GOB's opium eradication efforts are likely to be undercut by the lack of viable economic alternatives available to farmers and villagers.

With support from the United States and Japan, the UN Drug Control Program (UNDCP) continues to implement a community based, alternative development project in the southern portion of the Wa region. The project complements the United Wa State Army's decision to eradicate opium production in the areas under its control by 2005. Known as the Wa Alternative Development Project (WADP), the project is a five-year, $15 million program intended to introduce economically viable alternative crops to replace reliance on opium poppy cultivation. Already established in ten pilot villages, the project will gradually expand into more than two-thirds of the 334 villages in Mong Pawk Township in the Wa territories. The U.S. also funded smaller UNDCP alternative-development projects in the Nam Tit and Lao Kai areas of Northern Shan State. In addition, the GOB and Japan have developed a crop-substitution program on 14,565 acres in northern Shan State to replace opium poppy cultivation.

Accomplishments. Although the drug threat from Burma continues to be very high, seizures of illicit narcotics remained close to or below 1999 levels. In 2000 Burmese officers seized approximately 27 million methamphetamine tablets, somewhat less than the nearly 29 million tablets seized in 1999. Even though sizeable quantities of methamphetamine tablets have been confiscated, the seizures represent only a small fraction of the methamphetamines produced within Burma.

In 2000 seizures of ephedrine, the precursor used to manufacture methamphetamines, were less than half the quantity seized in 1999. Burmese officers seized only about 2,700 kilograms of ephedrine in 2000 compared to seizures of nearly 6,500 kilograms in 1999.

Seizures of heroin declined for the third straight year, and seizures of opium gum rose only slightly over previous years. Heroin seizures in 2000 totaled only 171 kilograms, only 273 kilograms in 1999, and only 404 kilograms in 1998. Opium seizures in 2000 totaled 1,528 kilograms, slightly more than the 1,445 kilograms seized in 1999, but significantly less than the 5,400 kilograms seized in 1998. The GOB claimed to have eradicated 10,985 acres under poppy cultivation during the 1999/2000 growing season and 9,800 acres during the 1998/1999 growing season.

According to Burmese reports, at least eight heroin refineries and two methamphetamine laboratories were seized in 2000. During 1999 the government destroyed 23 heroin refineries and six methamphetamine refineries.

Law Enforcement Measures. The 1993 Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law brought the Burmese legal code into basic conformity with the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The law contains some legal tools for addressing money laundering, the seizure of drug-related assets, and the prosecution of drug conspiracy cases. Burmese policy and judicial officials have been slow to implement the law, however, targeting few, if any, major traffickers and their drug-related assets.

The lack of effective legislation and enforcement encourages the investment of drug proceeds in legitimate business ventures by traffickers or former traffickers. Family members of former or present traffickers have invested heavily in infrastructure projects, such as roads and port facilities, as well as in banks, airlines, hotels and real-estate-development projects during the year. Some of these investments are intended to supplement government expenditures on rural development projects in areas under control of the ethnic insurgent and trafficking groups. There is solid evidence indicating that drug profits formed the seed capital for many otherwise legitimate enterprises in the commercial services and manufacturing sectors.

Formally, the Burmese government's drug-enforcement efforts are led by the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control (CCDAC), which is comprised of personnel from various security services, including the police, customs, military intelligence, and the army. CCDAC now has 21 drug-enforcement task forces around the country, most located in major cities and along key transit routes near Burma's borders with China, India, and Thailand. The CCDAC, which is under the effective control of the Directorate of Defense Services Intelligence (DDSI) and relies, in part, on military personnel to execute law-enforcement duties, continues to suffer from a lack of adequate resources to support its law-enforcement mission.

Corruption. There is no evidence that the government, on an institutional level, is involved in the drug trade. There are persistent and reliable reports, however, that officials, particularly corrupt army personnel posted in outlying areas, are either directly involved in drug production and/or trafficking or are paid to allow others to engage unhindered in drug activities. Army personnel wield considerable political clout locally, and their involvement in trafficking is a significant problem. The GOB has said that it welcomes information on corruption within its ranks, and a few military personnel were arrested for narcotics-related offenses in 1999.

Asset Forfeiture. Burma has made no changes to its asset-forfeiture law. Currently, the 1993 Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law gives the GOB authority to seize money, property, or proceeds involved in or derived from narcotics trafficking. As long as the required taxes are paid, however, the GOB does not exercise this authority, particularly in cases where assets are invested in a legitimate business or in real estate.

Agreements and Treaties. Burma is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The U.S. believes that the 1931 U.S.-U.K. Extradition treaty, which was accepted by the post-independence Burmese government in 1948, remains in force and is applicable to U.S. requests for extradition of drug fugitives and other criminals from Burma. The GOB continues to reject the validity of this treaty.

The GOB is one of six nations (Burma, Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam) that, along with the UNDCP, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) covering a sub-regional action plan aimed at controlling precursor chemicals and reducing illicit drug trafficking and use in the highlands of Southeast Asia. In addition to periodic meetings with counterparts from the other signatories to the MOU, Burma has held counternarcotics discussions with Russia and India in 1999. The GOB signed bilateral drug control agreements with India in 1993, with Bangladesh in 1994, with Vietnam in 1995, and with the Russian Federation, Laos, and the Philippines in 1997.

Cultivation and Production. Burma remains a leading producer of opium, despite a sharp decline in production since 1996. Over the past four years, opium cultivation has declined by nearly one-third and opium production has dropped by approximately 58 percent to an estimated maximum production of 1,085 metric tons in 2000. Two factors appear to have contributed to this result. The first is continued eradication efforts by the government. In 2000, the government reported having destroyed approximately 10,985 acres of poppy, but those claims cannot be verified by satellite imagery. The second, and perhaps most important, factor is adverse weather conditions. During the 1999/2000 crop years, unseasonable rains during the planting season in October and a subsequent severe frost in December severely affected the opium poppy crop. As a result, even with an increase of 21 percent in land under cultivation (108,700 hectares in 2000 versus 89,500 hectares in 1999), actual opium yield marginally declined to 1,085 metric tons in 2000 compared to 1,090 metric tons produced in 1999.

The GOB conducted a baseline survey of opium cultivation in 1999 aimed at determining actual opium production (as opposed to potential production that the USG measures) throughout the country. According to Burmese figures, there were 102,066 acres used for opium poppy cultivation in 1999, producing a total of 449 tons of opium. However, the government has never explained the methodology used to arrive at these totals, and the U.S. has continued to rely on the figures resulting from the joint U.S.-Burma opium yield survey.

Drug Flow/Transit. Most heroin in Burma is produced in small, mobile labs located near the borders with Thailand and China in Shan State areas controlled by former insurgent groups. An increasing amount of methamphetamine is reportedly produced in laboratories co-located with heroin refineries in the Wa region and in the territory of the former Shan United Revolutionary Army in southern Shan State. Heroin and methamphetamine produced by Burma's former insurgent groups are trafficked largely through transit routes crossing the porous Chinese and Thai borders; to a lesser extent over the Indian, Bangladeshi, and Lao borders; and through Rangoon onward by ship to other countries in the region. Although Thailand remains an important route for Burmese heroin to exit Southeast Asia, trafficking through China has increased significantly over the past several years. Traffickers continued moving heroin through central Burma, often from Lashio through Mandalay to Rangoon or other seaports. Trafficking routes leading through Kachin and Chin States and Sagaing Division in northern Burma to India continued to operate as secondary routes.

China and India are the principal sources for acetic anhydride, an essential chemical in the production of heroin, and ephedrine, the primary chemical ingredient of methamphetamine.

Demand Reduction. Drug abuse continues to escalate in Burma. Official estimates in 1999 put the number of drug addicts at approximately 86,537, up from the estimate in 1998 of 66,463. According to UNDCP and non-governmental organizations working in the health sector, the actual number is significantly higher, totaling about 400-500,000 addicts. Heroin, relatively cheap in Burma, is more widely used, and intravenous use of heroin contributed to the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS, particularly in the Kachin and Shan States. According to the GOB's "Rapid Assessment Study of Drug Abuse in Myanmar," sponsored by the Ministry of Health and UNDCP in 1995, drug treatment services are not reaching most drug users because of a lack of facilities, lack of properly trained personnel, and inadequate treatment methods. The non-governmental organization (NGO) "World Concern" conducts a demand-reduction project in Kachin State.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives

Policy and Programs. Direct material USG counternarcotics aid to Burma has remained suspended since 1988, when the Burmese military brutally repressed the pro-democracy movement. In 1998, the GOB refused to renew a crop-substitution project, Project Old Soldier, that was being conducted by the U.S. NGO, 101 Veterans, Inc., in 25 villages in the Kutkai area of northern Shan State. The project had been in operation for two years, with USG support.

Currently, the USG engages the Burmese government on narcotics control on a very limited level. DEA, through the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon, shares drug-related intelligence with the GOB and conducts joint drug-enforcement investigations with Burmese counternarcotics authorities. U.S. agencies have conducted opium yield surveys in the mountainous regions of the Shan State in 1993, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000, with essential assistance provided by Burmese counterparts. These surveys give both governments a much more accurate understanding of the scope, magnitude, and changing geographic distribution of Burma's opium crop.

The U.S. government regularly urges the Burmese government to take serious steps to curb Burma's large-scale opium production and heroin trafficking and, more recently production of and trafficking in methamphetamines. Specifically, the Rangoon regime has been encouraged to:

  • undertake counternarcotics efforts commensurate with Burma's central role in opium, heroin, and methamphetamine production and trafficking;

  • prosecute drug-trafficking organizations and their leaders, and deprive them of assets derived from the drug trade;

  • take action against drug-related corruption, including prosecution and appropriate punishment of corrupt officials and money launderers;

  • take action against fugitive drug traffickers and turn them over to third countries;

  • undertake opium poppy eradication on a wide scale in areas under its direct control or immediate influence;

  • press ethnic groups, such as the Wa, the Kokang, and the Kachin, who have pledged to create opium-free zones in their regions, to make good on their commitments;

  • develop and enforce effective antidrug, anticonspiracy, and anti-money laundering legislation; provide strong support to multilateral drug-control projects in Shan State.

Bilateral Cooperation. USG counternarcotics cooperation with the Burmese regime is restricted to basic law-enforcement operations. The U.S. provides no bilateral material or training assistance due to U.S. concerns over Burma's commitment to effective counternarcotics measures, human rights, and political reform. DEA's liaison with Burmese policymakers and military officials—conducted mainly through DEA's office in Rangoon—will continue to focus on providing intelligence on enforcement targets and coordinating investigations of international drug-trafficking groups.

The Road Ahead. Based on experience in dealing with significant narcotics-trafficking problems elsewhere around the world, the USG recognizes that ultimately large-scale and long-term international aid, including development assistance and law- enforcement aid, will be needed to curb fundamentally and irreversibly drug production and trafficking in Burma. The USG strongly urges the GOB to commit itself fully and unambiguously to implementing effective counternarcotics measures, respecting the rule of law, punishing drug traffickers and major trafficking organizations (including asset forfeiture and seizure), combating corruption, enforcing anti-money-laundering legislation, continuing eradication of opium cultivation, destroying drug-processing laboratories, and respecting human rights.

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I. Summary

Despite some progress in improving law enforcement and limiting corruption in 2000, Cambodia remained a weak link in the region's efforts to combat the narcotics trade. Through 1998, chronic political instability hindered Cambodia's ability to mount a sustained effort against the narcotics trade. The Cambodian government recognizes that its counternarcotics performance to date has been spotty and often ineffective, and there is widespread recognition that the country must be more aggressive in tackling drug-related issues. However, because of poor institutional capacity, Cambodia needs substantial support in virtually every key area. Cambodia's lead antinarcotics agency, the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD), cooperates closely with DEA, regional counterparts, and the UNDCP. Cambodia is a party to the 1993 Regional Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Drug Control, and is also a party to the six MOU countries' Subregional Action Plan for Drug Control. In mid-2000, the U.S. Government permitted mid-level Cambodian officials to participate in courses at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok, an initial step toward fulfilling critical training shortcomings. Cambodia is not a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention and its 1972 Protocol, or the 1988 UN Drug Convention, but the NACD has urged the adoption and ratification of the latter convention.

II. Status of Country

Cambodia is not a major producer of opiates or coca-based drugs. It is the only country in Southeast Asia that does not have a significant domestic drug abuse problem. Recently, however, Cambodian authorities have becoming increasingly concerned at the growth in amphetamine-type stimulant (ATS) use, particularly among youths who frequent the nightclub scene in Phnom Penh and other urban areas, commercial sex workers, and Cambodian migrant laborers. There is also a growing incidence of glue-sniffing and other inhalant abuse by street children and some disadvantaged youths.

Marijuana is cultivated for export as well as for some domestic consumption. Reliable figures about acreage are difficult to come by. Marijuana production tends to be concentrated in the provinces of Koh Kong, Banteay Meanchey, Kandal, Kampong Cham, Kratie, Stung Treng, Preah Vihear, and Kampot. Much of the production is reported to be "contract cultivation" under the control of foreign criminal syndicates. Analysis of seizures in recent years indicates that Europe is the major destination for Cambodian cannabis.

In addition to marijuana, Cambodia's principal involvement in the international narcotics trade is as a transit route for Southeast Asian heroin to overseas markets, including China, Europe, Australia, and the United States. There is little hard information available on the scale of heroin trafficked through Cambodia, but the amount of heroin seized in the United States in recent years traceable to or through Cambodia is small.

In the past year or two, Cambodian authorities have become increasingly concerned over what appears to be a substantial increase in the amount of chemically based synthetic drugs coming into the country from Thailand and elsewhere in the region. Cambodian authorities believe that foreign crime syndicates, working in concert with Cambodian nationals, have set up some highly mobile clandestine laboratories in Koh Kong, Banteay Meanchey and Battambang provinces (all along the Thai-Cambodia border) that are producing ATS, both for distribution locally and for export. Although ATS use in Cambodian society has not reached crisis levels, Cambodian officials are very concerned about the potential for a rapid increase in metamphetamine abuse and are anxious to avoid an epidemic of the proportions experienced in neighboring countries.

There is some concern that precursor chemicals imported for industrial use in Cambodia, including methanol, sulfuric acid, toulene and ephedrine, are being diverted for drug production, although the magnitude of this diversion is not known.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs

Policy Initiatives. Cambodian law enforcement agencies have very few resources and generally lack even the most basic training in law enforcement techniques and drug enforcement measures. Three decades of warfare and factional fighting have severely hampered a sustained effort against illegal drugs. In late 1998, the cessation of factional fighting and final demise of the Khmer Rouge along with the formation of a new coalition government provided a measure of stability that allowed the government to begin the process of devoting more attention to combating crime and illegal narcotics. But better coordination is needed among various government agencies and ministries, with the NACD playing a central role, to provide more effective measures against drug production, abuse, and trafficking.

The NACD, which was reorganized two years ago, has the potential to become an effective policy and coordination unit for the government. With the enthusiastic backing of the Cambodian government, UNDCP is trying to implement a four-year, USD 2.3 million "NACD Support Project" that would strengthen the NACD Secretariat. This project seeks to establish the NACD as an independent functional government body able to undertake drug control planning, coordination and operations. Over two, two-year phases, the project seeks to provide procedures for planning, operations and administration and to provide staff training, technical advice, basic transportation, communications and office equipment.

Accomplishments. NACD hosted a national seminar April 27-28, and also a Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) of the six greater Mekong sub-region countries and UNDCP May 18-19 to discuss joint actions to fight drug production, trafficking and abuse. The six governments and UNDCP hold annual meetings at the Senior Officials level and every other year at the Ministerial level to discuss drug control developments in the region, assess the measures being taken to deal with illicit drug problems, and to adopt recommendations on joint remedial actions. The meeting in Phnom Penh addressed progress made under thirteen Action Plan projects in the fields of drug abuse, reduction of illegal drug production and trafficking, and law enforcement cooperation. The six countries also discussed and endorsed the UNDCP support project to strengthen Cambodia's drug control capability.

A Phnom Penh Mini-Dublin Group was formed in 1999 under the leadership of Australia and Japan, a development that was warmly welcomed by the Cambodian authorities. This group, in which the United States participates actively, provides a forum for multilateral discussion of narcotics issues and aims to improve coordination of donor effort to Cambodia's drug control and antidrug trafficking efforts. The Mini-Dublin Group met twice in 2000.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Continuing a pattern that began in 1999, government authorities recorded a number of seizures of cannabis and torched a number of marijuana fields and plants in 2000. In May, a truck carrying 262 kilograms of marijuana was stopped on National Route 5 just outside the capital; police arrested the driver and truck owners. In May, antinarcotics police in Phnom Penh seized several boxes of compressed marijuana weighing 115 kilograms plus a number of weapons. According to preliminary figures from the Anti-Drug Department of the National Police, authorities seized 1,108 kilograms of cannabis in 2000. One hundred twenty-four people were arrested for various drug-related offenses in 2000, up from seventy-eight in 1999. Of the one hundred twenty-four arrests in 2000, eighty-one were foreigners and forty-three were Cambodians.

Corruption. As a consequence of chronic political turmoil spanning three decades, corruption remains widespread and pervasive. This makes Cambodia highly vulnerable to penetration by drug traffickers and foreign crime syndicates and effective law enforcement a daunting challenge. Senior Cambodian government officials proclaim their intention to fight illegal narcotics trafficking and production, and officials at all levels regularly call for U.S. assistance in training antinarcotics police. However, several factors constrain sustained advances in effective law enforcement of illegal drugs by the government, not the least of which is an acute shortage of trained personnel and high levels of official corruption, aggravated by abysmally low salaries for Cambodian civil servants. The judicial system is weak, and there have been numerous cases of defendants in important narcotics and other criminal cases having charges dropped inexplicably or being set free after paying very small fines.

Perhaps the biggest reported controversy in 2000 occurred in February in connection with the destruction by police of a 60-acre marijuana plantation in the province of Kampot. Subsequent to the torching of the plantation, which was highlighted by authorities and reported widely in the press, villagers in the area told reporters they had seen "foreigners" on the plantation, a helicopter landing on the grounds on a half dozen occasions, and men in military uniform controlling access to the site. Prime Minister Hun Sen castigated local authorities for permitting these "irregularities" to take place under their watch, and the deputy provincial police commissioner and one other police officer were placed under arrest for suspected involvement. Several weeks later, the deputy police commissioner alleged that four senior Cambodian government officials—including the former and current heads of the NACD and a deputy commander-in-chief of the Cambodian military—had accepted bribes totaling USD 80,000 to protect the plantation owners. The four officials vehemently denied the accusations.

Agreements and Treaties. Cambodia is not a party to the 1961 Convention on Narcotic Drugs and its 1972 Protocol, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, or the 1988 UN Drug Convention. However, the comprehensive antidrug legislation passed by the National Assembly in December 1996 would enable Cambodia to become a party to the above Conventions and to implement the provisions of the Conventions. Some believe that Cambodia will make a concerted effort to ratify the international drug control treaties once the NACD gains the increased drug control capacity within the bureaucracy that would make such action meaningful. Although it is not yet a party to the UN drug conventions, Cambodia voluntarily submits the UNDCP annual report questionnaire required of parties to the conventions.

Cambodia has no extradition or mutual legal assistance treaty with the United States, but the Cambodian government has cooperated with U.S. law enforcement agencies regularly in the past by rendering or deporting persons wanted in the United States for crimes, including narcotics, upon request and presentation of an appropriate warrant. The U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh has been assured that such cooperation will continue. The Cambodian government concluded an extradition treaty with Thailand in 1998 and is in the process of negotiating an agreement with Laos. The Cambodian government views bilateral and regional cooperation with neighboring states to be essential in its efforts to combat narcotics trafficking.

Cultivation/Production. Accurate estimates of the level of drug cultivation and production are difficult to come by. Cambodian authorities had some success in combating illicit cultivation during 2000. A number of cannabis plantations and fields of varying sizes were destroyed. As in the previous year, provincial governors were instructed to make sure that farmers understood that cannabis cultivation would not be tolerated and that they would be held accountable.

Drug Flow/Transit. Cambodia shares porous borders with Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam and lies near the major trafficking routes for Southeast Asian heroin. Some heroin and marijuana are believed to enter and exit Cambodia via the deep water port of Sihanoukville (also known as Kampong Saom), locations along the coastline of Koh Kong (near the Thai border) and Kampot (near the Vietnamese border) provinces, and the river port of Phnom Penh. The country's main international airport, Pochentong International Airport in Phnom Penh, suffers from lax customs and immigration controls, and some heroin and ATS destined for United States, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia and Europe is believed to transit there. Under the Cambodian government's "Open Skies" policy, direct flights from major Asian gateways, including Bangkok and Singapore, began serving the regional airport in Siem Reap (location of Angkor Wat) in 2000. Customs and immigration controls in Siem Reap are rudimentary.

Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). The NACD is attempting to boost awareness about drug abuse among the populace, especially Cambodian youth, primarily through the use of pamphlets and posters. Cambodia does not have separate rehabilitation centers for recovering drug addicts, but the government has sought outside assistance for programs on drug treatment and rehabilitation centers for drug addicts and vocational training centers for severe addicts. Several national and international NGOs operate in Cambodia with mandates that are directly or indirectly related to drug control issues. Some of these NGOs work in the area of demand reduction, and an NGO Substance Abuse Task Force was established in early 1999 in collaboration with UNDCP.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives. Cambodia is a fragile, flawed democracy. There has been relative political stability since the formation of a democratically elected coalition government in 1998, but Cambodia is still plagued by the institutional weaknesses common to the world's poorest developing countries. The challenge for the United States is to: nurture the growth of democratic institutions in Cambodia, including greater respect for human rights; provide humanitarian assistance and promote sound economic growth policies to alleviate the debilitating poverty that engenders corruption; and build capacity in law enforcement to enable Cambodia to deal more effectively with narcotics traffickers.

Bilateral Cooperation. U.S.-Cambodia bilateral counternarcotics cooperation is hampered by restrictions on official U.S. assistance to the central government that have remained in place since the political disturbances of 1997. No bilateral treaties for law enforcement exist between the U.S. and Cambodia. Some counternarcotics assistance is provided by the U.S. indirectly to Cambodia via multilateral contributions, such as through the UNDCP.

Despite the fact that direct U.S. Government non-humanitarian assistance to the Cambodian government, including antinarcotics assistance, remained suspended in 2000, the Cambodian government continued to openly welcome bilateral cooperation with DEA and other U.S. law enforcement agencies. Cambodian law enforcement authorities often make drug suspects under arrest available for interview by DEA. DEA personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok visited Cambodia regularly in 2000 and received excellent cooperation from their Cambodian counterparts. In 1999, the Cambodian government accepted a U.S. proposal to conduct quarterly high-level consultations on counternarcotics cooperation. One such consultation was held in February 2000, but scheduling difficulties precluded additional meetings during the year. The next consultation is scheduled for February 2001.

U.S. officials routinely raise narcotics-related issues with Cambodian counterparts at all levels, up to and including the Prime Minister. Cambodian officials freely admit their shortcomings in the area of enforcement due to corruption and the lack of resources, and regularly appeal for U.S. Government assistance, especially training.

The Road Ahead. Funding is needed to encourage greater bilateral and multilateral counternarcotics cooperation involving Cambodia. At every meeting and at every level, Cambodian law enforcement authorities uniformly describe the need for outside training and assistance as their top priority. The decision by the U.S. Government in mid-2000 to permit mid-level Cambodian law enforcement officers to attend training courses at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Bangkok (ILEA) was a highly positive step. Cambodian officials will especially benefit from advanced police courses covering issues such as drug identification, investigations, coordination of operations and intelligence gathering techniques.

Funding assistance is needed to allow working level Cambodian officials to participate in regional counterdrug conferences, such as the yearly meetings of the six greater Mekong subregion countries that are signatories to the 1993 Memorandum of Understanding on Drug Control with the UNDCP.

In mid-1999, the DEA Country Attache from Bangkok and the U.S. Ambassador presented the NACD with an INL-funded drug-testing laboratory, but there has been no follow-up U.S. assistance to the laboratory since that time. The laboratory is currently operating at minimal capacity and is functioning off the original chemicals, standards, and supplies during its setup eighteen months ago. Many of these items are running out, and there is no money available from the Cambodian government to continue laboratory operations, a concern that has been echoed by the Deputy Prime Minister and the Secretary-General of the NACD. A DEA chemist visited the laboratory in late September and early October 2000 and prepared a thorough report in which he documented safety concerns and equipment needs and suggested sources of funding and training for laboratory personnel. The DEA Country Office in Bangkok has initiated discussions with UNDCP regarding possible funding of a portion of this initiative. Assistance is needed to make the INL-funded drug laboratory operational.

DEA currently has a presence in Bangkok, Rangoon and Vientiane. The Cambodian government would welcome a DEA presence in Phnom Penh, and the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh strongly supports this as well.

In sum, Cambodia is making progress toward more effective institutional law enforcement against illegal narcotics trafficking, and is intent on doing more. However, Cambodia's institutional capacity to transform this attitude into efficient drug control operations is low.


I. Summary

The People's Republic of China (PRC or China) continues to be a major transit country for illegal narcotics produced in the Golden Triangle. During 2000 the PRC worked strongly and effectively to combat narcotics trafficking and domestic drug use. Preliminary figures suggest that heroin seizures by Chinese law-enforcement personnel remained steady from the previous year, while seizures of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) skyrocketed. A government "White Paper" issued in June set forth a comprehensive strategy to fight narcotics use and trafficking. For the first time, Chinese authorities provided U.S. counternarcotics officials with samples of drugs seized en route to the United States. The United States and the PRC signed a Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement in mid-2000. China is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention and its 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances.

II. Status of Country

Most seizures of Southeast Asian heroin now take place within Chinese borders. Preliminary figures suggest that heroin seizures in 2000 were roughly the same as those in 1999, representing a significant drop from 1998's record levels. Record quantities of ATS were seized in 2000, illustrating the growing threat of this type of drug in China. The Chinese government reported that there were 681,000 registered drug addicts in 1999, but officials privately admit that the actual number of users is far higher.

China is a major producer of precursor chemicals, including acetic anhydride, potassium permanganate, and ephedrine. China monitors all 22 of the chemicals on the 1988 UN Drug Convention watch list. China has been a strong partner with the United States and other concerned countries in implementing a system of pre-export notification of dual-use precursor chemicals.

In 1997 the PRC criminalized the laundering of proceeds from narcotics trafficking, organized crime, and smuggling. In April 2000 the government enacted "true name" banking legislation. China does not participate in the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering or other regional or international groups, such as the Financial Action Task Force. A detailed discussion of money laundering is in the Money Laundering and Financial Crimes section of this report.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2000

Policy Initiatives. In June, the government issued a "White Paper" on drugs. This comprehensive strategy for fighting narcotics trafficking and drug use covers all of the major goals and objectives of the 1988 UN Drug Convention and emphasizes drug eradication, interdiction, education, and rehabilitation as well as precursor chemical control.

Illicit Cultivation/Production. China's effective eradication program has essentially eliminated commercial cultivation of illicit narcotics within its borders. The government continues to target small-scale cultivation in remote northeastern and northwestern areas of the country. Ephedra grows wild in northern parts of China and is used to make ephedrine, the precursor for methamphetamine. The government tightly controls exports of this key precursor.

In part because of the success of these efforts, Chinese officials suggest, narcotics traffickers have increased the production of methamphetamines ("ice") and other synthetic drugs within China. Faced with a growing threat from methamphetamines and synthetic drugs such as ecstasy, the government has made locating and destroying illicit drug laboratories a top priority. A single investigation resulted in the seizure of 17 tons of methamphetamines and precursor chemicals with an estimated street value of up to U.S. $700 million. The results of that case highlight not only the extent of the ATS problem in China, but also the depth of the government's commitment to combating synthetic drugs produced and distributed in China.

Drug Flow/Transit. The PRC shares a 2,000-kilometer border with Burma. The majority of heroin produced in Burma now travels through China en route to the international market. Reflecting China's importance as a transshipment route, most seizures of Burmese heroin now take place in China. Smaller quantities of heroin enter China from Laos, Vietnam, and Southwest Asia.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Preliminary figures suggest that seizures of heroin by Chinese law-enforcement personnel in 2000 will be roughly equal to those from the previous year. The amount represents a steep decline from 1998, when heroin seizures reached an all-time high. Nonetheless, China still accounts for more heroin seizures than all other East Asian countries combined. Methamphetamine seizures continued to soar, with this year's total seizures eclipsing last year's record haul.

In the fall of 2000, Chinese police uncovered a syndicate that specialized in smuggling MDMA (ecstasy) to the United States. In the course of the investigation, Chinese authorities arrested several suspects and seized 100,000 tablets bound for the United States. The Ministry of Public Security has worked actively with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to identify U.S. residents involved in the operation, which had already successfully smuggled 50,000 tablets into the United States. Although this case demonstrates effective bilateral cooperation on narcotics, Chinese responses to U.S. requests for information and assistance in narcotics investigations often come too late to be of operational value.

Corruption. Chinese officials admit that corruption is one of the most serious problems the country faces. An ongoing anticorruption campaign has led to the arrest of hundreds of government officials. The execution of a former provincial Vice Governor and a Vice Chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee attest to the extent of the campaign, as well as to the degree to which corruption has permeated Chinese society. One smuggling and corruption scandal in the southern port city of Xiamen involved official complicity in avoiding duties on approximately USD 10 billion worth of consumer goods. China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), which will greatly reduce tariff barriers to imports, should significantly reduce smuggling and its attendant corruption. Most other official graft in China involves misappropriation of funds, abuse of power, and embezzlement. There have been instances of PRC officials embezzling funds and then emigrating to the United States. Efforts to deport them have not been successful. There were no reports in the state-controlled media of narcotics-related corruption.

Asset Forfeiture. The PRC's criminal law provides for asset forfeiture. Article 347 of the criminal law, which states that "smuggling, trafficking, and manufacturing of drugs will subject an offender to a term of imprisonment or death and the confiscation of property," has been used to seize drug-related proceeds and assets, particularly in Yunnan province.

Precursor Chemical Control. China is a major producer of precursor chemicals. The PRC monitors all 22 of the chemicals on the 1988 UN Drug Convention watch list. Several provinces, including Yunnan (which shares a border with Burma), have even more stringent controls than called for by the Convention. Yunnan, for example, monitors exports of 28 chemicals. In June 1999 and May 2000, the government issued regulations further tightening controls on transportation licenses for ephedrine. The PRC cooperates closely with the United States on chemical control issues. The two sides have in place a strong pre-export notification program for ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. China is a participant in Operation Purple, the worldwide initiative to stem the diversion of potassium permanganate to cocaine syndicates.

Demand Reduction. China's counternarcotics strategy emphasizes both education and rehabilitation. According to official statistics, there were 680,000 "registered" addicts in 1999, but officials admit that the real figure may be many times higher. Individuals identified as addicts are subject to compulsory rehabilitation. The 746 rehabilitation centers throughout the country treated 224,000 addicts in 1999. An additional 120,000 were treated at specially designated reeducation-through-labor treatment centers.

China provides antidrug education to all school children and has also taken steps to warn citizens about the link between intravenous drug use and HIV/AIDS. The country also has experimented with "drug free communities," an effort to mobilize entire communities to work together to combat narcotics trafficking and encourage former addicts to remain drug free. In the coming years, China plans to expand this program beyond a few initial test communities.

Agreements and Treaties. The PRC is party to more than 30 mutual legal assistance treaties with 24 countries covering civil or criminal matters. In June 2000 the PRC and the United States signed a Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement. When this treaty enters into force, it will provide a powerful tool for obtaining evidence needed to prosecute transnational criminals, including narcotics traffickers, in both countries. The PRC signed the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime in December 2000. China has yet to take action to activate a bilateral Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement signed in 1999. This agreement, if brought into force, would facilitate cooperation by customs officials and enhance the flow of narcotics intelligence.

A May 1997 U.S.-PRC Memorandum of Understanding on Law Enforcement Cooperation allows the two sides to provide assistance on narcotics investigations and prosecutions on a case-by-case basis.

The PRC also cooperates actively with countries in the region in the fight against narcotics. Along with the UNDCP and five Southeast Asian nations, China is a member of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) States. In the MOU, the members agreed to collaborate on drug-control projects and programs. China supports crop-substitution initiatives for farmers in Burma and Laos, as well as demand reduction efforts in areas bordering Yunnan province.

In August 2000 senior Thai and Chinese officials met in Yunnan province and agreed to strengthen bilateral efforts to fight drug trafficking and the transshipment of precursor chemicals. They formalized the agreement in October by signing a MOU detailing areas of cooperation. Also in October the PRC and the Republic of Korea signed a bilateral extradition treaty. In November, the PRC and Laos signed a bilateral cooperation accord, which included provisions for expanding efforts to combat transnational crimes, including narcotics trafficking.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives. Bilateral counternarcotics cooperation at both the working and policy levels improved in 2000. The June visit to the PRC by then U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director McCaffrey symbolized the high-level bilateral commitment to work together to combat illicit narcotics trafficking and use. At the working level, PRC and U.S. officials cooperated closely in conducting transnational investigations, exchanging information on existing and emerging threats, and developing Chinese law-enforcement capabilities.

There were several notable examples of successful cooperation in the field of law enforcement in 2000, including the dismantling of an ecstasy-smuggling ring operating in both the PRC and the United States.

PRC and U.S. counternarcotics personnel meet regularly to discuss active investigations and related narcotics matters. In response to a U.S. request, China for the very first time provided the United States with samples of drugs seized in an investigation for inclusion in the DEA special drug-signature program. The United States continued to emphasize the importance of receiving quick responses to requests for information in time-sensitive investigations.

Throughout the year, Chinese police attended counternarcotics and general law-enforcement training courses at the joint U.S.-Thai International Law Enforcement Academy in Bangkok. This important regional forum brought together police and other law-enforcement officials from throughout the region to improve technical capabilities and establish ties among regional counternarcotics and law-enforcement bodies.

The Road Ahead. During his June visit to China, then ONDCP Director McCaffrey identified several areas in which the United States hoped to expand and strengthen bilateral cooperation, including the exchange of narcotics-related information and strategic intelligence. To this end, the United States has proposed holding regular meetings of working-level counternarcotics officials to discuss specific topics and targets of mutual interest. The United States will also encourage the PRC to continue to provide samples of narcotics seized by Chinese officers. The United States will continue to monitor both the transshipment of Burmese heroin through China and the threat posed by the explosive growth of methamphetamine trafficking in China.

Hong Kong

I. Summary

Hong Kong's law-enforcement efforts and the extensive development of port facilities in the People's Republic of China (PRC) have diminished Hong Kong's role as a narcotics transshipment/transit point. Hong Kong adopts a multi-pronged strategy to combat drug trafficking and abuse, covering legislation and law enforcement, treatment and rehabilitation, preventive education, research, and international cooperation. In November 2000 Hong Kong was removed from the U.S. Majors List of drug-transit points and downgraded to a country/economy of concern. The 1988 UN Drug Convention, to which the PRC is a party, applies to Hong Kong.

II. Status of Hong Kong

Hong Kong's position as a key port city in close proximity to the Golden Triangle and the PRC historically made it a natural transit point for drugs moving from Southeast Asia to international markets, including the United States. In recent years, however, Hong Kong's law-enforcement efforts coupled with rapid development of modern port facilities in southern China have reduced Hong Kong's role as a major narcotics transit center. Because no seizures of heroin transiting Hong Kong and destined for the United States had occurred since 1996 and because drug-transit patterns have shifted to ports in southern China, the U.S. removed Hong Kong from the Majors List of drug-transit points in 2000. Hong Kong law-enforcement officials continue to maintain a cooperative liaison relationship with U.S. counterparts on narcotics and related criminal activities.

The number of drug addicts in Hong Kong increased by 3.1 percent in the first half of 2000 to 10,607 from 10,291 in the second half of 1999. The slight increase was mainly due to the upward trend in abuse of psychotropic substances, such as ecstasy and ketamine. The number of registered abusers of these two substances rose sharply in the first half of 2000 to 1,518 compared to 296 in the second half of 1999. Heroin, used by 78.9 percent of all drug abusers, remains the most commonly reported drug of abuse in Hong Kong.

III. Actions Against Drugs In 2000

Policy Initiatives. In response to a decision by the United Nations Commission on Narcotics and Drugs to tighten control on remifentanil and dihydroetorphin in March of 2000, Hong Kong in May 2000 upgraded the two substances to Schedule 1 of the "Dangerous Drugs Ordinance." In light of the rapid increase in the number of reported ketamine abusers, ketamine was upgraded to Schedule 1 in December 2000.

The Hong Kong government, through the Control of Chemicals Ordinance, tightly controls the licensing of 24 chemicals that can be used as precursor chemicals in drug production. This ordinance allows the government to suspend the license of any applicants suspected of false representation and to seize any chemicals in the suspect's possession. In response to the UN's resolution on tightening control of norephedrine, norephedrine was placed on Schedule 2 of the Control of Chemicals Ordinance.

A new bill centralizing and standardizing the licensing of drug treatment and rehabilitation centers was introduced in the Hong Kong legislature in November 2000. The purpose of the new bill is to improve the quality of service and to protect patients' rights. Once the bill is passed, the Social Welfare Department of the Hong Kong government will be the sole authority for licensing drug treatment and rehabilitation centers throughout Hong Kong.

Law Enforcement Efforts. The Hong Kong law-enforcement agencies have continued to use a multifaceted strategy to inhibit the distribution of illicit drugs. With respect to traditional heroin distribution, the Hong Kong police have adopted a three-tier approach. At the headquarters level, the Narcotics Bureau targets domestic and international drug trafficking and high-level traffickers. The regional police force focuses on trafficking across police district boundaries. At the district level, the police aim to eradicate street-level distribution. Hong Kong works closely and cooperatively with U.S. law-enforcement agencies.

The evidence suggests that the passage of illicit drugs through Hong Kong destined for foreign markets has diminished. The vast majority of drugs reaching Hong Kong supply the domestic market. The Narcotics Bureau of the Hong Kong police concentrates on both aspects of the problem, international trafficking and domestic trafficking. The Narcotics Bureau cooperates with the PRC, Canada, Australia, the U.S., and countries throughout Southeast Asia. However, its resources are primarily focused on syndicates involved in the supply and distribution of drugs in the Hong Kong domestic market.

In 2000 the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department continued to take a proactive approach toward drug trafficking at all levels through intelligence-based operations and international cooperation. The department's counternarcotics budget was increased by 10.5 percent in 2000 over 1999. Also, two additional patrol boats were commissioned in 2000 to strengthen maritime capabilities. Plans for future improvements include an enhanced drug-detecting canine unit, installation of two state-of-the-art vehicle x-ray scanning systems at container ports, acquisition of ion scanners, and narcotics and explosive detectors. A team of 280 investigators from the Customs Drug Investigation Bureau work around-the-clock on covert investigations of narcotics importation, manufacturing, and distribution.

According to the government's Narcotics Division, Hong Kong authorities seized 376.4 kilograms of heroin between January and October 2000, an increase from the 287.5 kilograms of heroin seized in 1999 and the 209.4 kilograms of heroin seized in 1998. From January through October, counternarcotics authorities seized 219.52 kilograms of cannabis, a significant increase over the 35.8 kilograms seized in 1999, but notably less than the 585.1 kilograms seized in 1998. Seizures of cocaine totaled 10.67 kilograms through October 2000, on par with the seizure of 16.7 kilograms in 1999, and well below the total of 167.7 kilograms seized in 1998. Authorities seized 89.97 kilograms of methamphetamines between January and October 2000, compared to 102.1 kilograms seized in 1999 and 232.7 kilograms seized in 1998.

Hong Kong law-enforcement agents made a total of 7,254 drug-related arrests between January and September 2000, compared to 8,733 arrests in 1999 and 10,773 arrests in 1998. They arrested 3,681 persons on heroin-related charges, compared to 5,641 arrests in 1999 and 7,086 arrests in 1998. They also arrested 2,334 persons on charges relating to psychotropic drugs, compared to 2,660 such arrests in 1999 and 3,151 arrests in 1998.

Corruption. There is no known narcotics-related corruption among senior government or law-enforcement officials. Hong Kong has a comprehensive anticorruption ordinance that is effectively enforced by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), which reports directly to the chief executive.

Asset Forfeiture. Under the Drug Trafficking (Recovery of Proceeds) Ordinance (DTROP) and the Organized and Serious Crime Ordinance (OSCO) a court may issue a restraint order against a defendant's property at or near the time criminal proceedings are instituted. The property includes money, goods, real property, and instruments of crime. A court may issue production orders and search warrants for investigations of drug trafficking and money laundering and confiscate the value of a defendant's proceeds of illicit activities. Cash connected to drug trafficking that is imported into or exported from Hong Kong may be seized, and a court may order its forfeiture. The government has proposed to the legislature amendments to the restraint and confiscation provisions of the DTROP and OSCO. The proposed amendments would streamline the confiscation procedures and add a penal provision for those who contravene court-ordered restraint orders. Hong Kong does not have a civil forfeiture system. There is no express provision in Hong Kong law that provides for sharing confiscated assets with foreign jurisdictions. The law does allow for the assets confiscated from an external confiscation order to be put in a special account that enables sharing of assets. There is an administrative measure in place for the consideration on a case-by-case basis of asset sharing requests from foreign jurisdictions.

Agreements and Treaties. Hong Kong has Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements with the U.S., Australia, France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Italy, the Republic of Korea, and Switzerland. In addition, agreements are currently under discussion with Portugal, Canada, the Philippines, Israel, and India. Hong Kong has also signed Surrender of Fugitive Offenders Agreements with 12 countries, including the U.S., and Transfer of Sentenced Persons Agreements with three countries, including the U.S.

Hong Kong actively cooperates with international organizations, such as the UN, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Customs Organization (WCO), and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on drug-related issues. The Hong Kong government continues to seek cooperation with other countries, even in the absence of bilateral agreements. For example, in 2000 Hong Kong law-enforcement agencies provided operational intelligence on drug trafficking, money laundering, and control of precursor chemicals to their overseas counterparts through law-enforcement liaison channels. Hong Kong also provided assistance to over 140 countries on restraint and confiscation of proceeds from drug trafficking.

Cultivation and Production. Hong Kong is not a producer of illicit narcotics.

Drug Flow/Transit. Although illicit narcotics continue to transit Hong Kong, the known volume of traffic has decreased significantly in the past few years. In 2000 there were no seizures in Hong Kong of drugs destined for the U.S. market. Nevertheless, Hong Kong traffickers, using Hong Kong as a base, continue to control large portions of Southeast Asian narcotics traffic, using various routes and means throughout the region.

In an effort to eradicate Hong Kong's role as a transport/transshipment point for illicit drugs, the Hong Kong government has developed a database of information on all cargoes, cross-border vehicles, and shipping. The Air Cargo Clearance System (ACCS), the Land Border System (LBS) and the Customs Control System (CSS) are all capable—at the click of a button—of processing information on all import and export cargoes, cross-border vehicles, and vessels.

Domestic Programs. In 2000 the Hong Kong government's preventive education policy continued to focus on youth and parents. In response to the sharp increase in psychotropic substance abuse in 2000, the government has initiated aggressive public awareness programs, including:

  • The opening of Phase One of the Drug Infocenter in June. Phase One includes a library, a multipurpose room, and a volunteer room to provide support for antidrug efforts by teachers, social workers, and the public. The center serves as a focal point for Hong Kong's antidrug education campaign. Phase Two, construction of an exhibition hall, is scheduled for completion in 2003.

  • The revamping of youth volunteer groups to improve recruitment and strengthen volunteer participation in antinarcotics efforts. The Hong Kong government's Narcotics Division, together with the Action Committee Against Narcotics (ACAN), has revamped the youth volunteer groups. Since the reorganization, more than 150 volunteers and 80 corporations have joined the fight against drugs.

The government utilizes the existing education system to spread the antinarcotics message to Hong Kong's youth. In the first ten months of 2000, the Narcotics Division, in partnership with three non-governmental organizations, made antidrug educational presentations to 85,000 students in over 450 schools. In addition, over 60 lectures on the dangers of drug abuse were organized for parents, employees, and members of youth organizations. The Narcotics Division also provided funds to community organizations to spur antinarcotics awareness.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives. U.S. law-enforcement officials continue to emphasize joint investigations with their counterparts in Hong Kong law enforcement to develop prosecutable cases—either in Hong Kong or in the U.S.—against major traffickers based in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong continues to be an active participant in U.S.-sponsored programs on narcotics and money laundering. In 2000, 35 Hong Kong officers participated in training courses at the U.S.-Thai International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok, Thailand. In 2000 the ILEA curriculum included specialized courses covering "International Controlled Deliveries and Investigations" and "Integrity and Corruption," among other topics, as well as three Supervisory Criminal Investigator Courses covering a wide range of narcotics and crime issues. Also in 2000 five Customs and Excise Department officials attended a training course on airport interdiction, "Operation Jetway," sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration. In September the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Division supported the participation of two Hong Kong law-enforcement officials in training in the U.S. covering suspicious transactions and financial-crimes investigations.

The Road Ahead. The U.S. government will encourage Hong Kong to continue playing an active role in combating narcotics trafficking and related criminal activities consistent with its international stature. Although Hong Kong has been removed from this year's Majors List, the U.S. continues to emphasize the importance of close cooperation based on an open, mutual exchange of information between the Hong Kong and U.S. law-enforcement agencies to strengthen, enforce, and implement existing laws and guidelines.


I. Summary

Indonesia is not a major drug producing or drug-transit country. However, Indonesia has a long way to go in mounting an effective and long-term strategy against drug traffickers and crime in general. Although there have been positive steps, the Indonesian National Police (INP) lack appropriate resources, training and expertise to mount complex narcotic investigations. The INP and its narcotic investigative drug unit, NARKOBA, continue to rely heavily on the U.S. Department of Justice's Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) expertise and training to address both domestic and U.S. drug investigations. Indonesia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and has passed new antinarcotics laws that conform to international norms established by the UN convention. However, implementing these laws often proved to be difficult and police at times have been arbitrary in enforcing them.

II. Status of Country

Ecstasy is a major problem, especially in urban areas. Methamphetamine was introduced in Jakarta in 1998 and many of the pills now sold as ecstasy in Jakarta nightclubs are actually methamphetamine. Marijuana is produced in remote areas of Northern Sumatra, primarily for domestic consumption. Local media has, on occasion, reported that the GAM rebel group in Aceh province is involved in marijuana production and trafficking. DEA has not received any solid evidence independently or from the INP to support these assertions. There has been an increase in clandestine methamphetamine and ecstasy laboratories. Narcotics, particularly methamphetamines, have gained popularity, especially among the younger generation of Indonesians.

Drug trafficking organizations exploit Indonesia's large and diverse geographical makeup, porous borders and lack of stringent customs control. These organizations often take advantage of Indonesia's lack of sophisticated law enforcement techniques by shipping narcotics through Jakarta to markets in the U.S., Europe, South America, Africa, and Australia.

In addition to the existence of domestic networks, Southeast and Southwest Asian drug organizations remain active in Indonesia. In the year 2000, DEA has observed an increase of Southwest Asian heroin being smuggled via commercial airlines from Pakistan (Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi) to Jakarta. Routes from Pakistan that transit Bangkok or Singapore to Jakarta have become increasingly popular. Most of these groups are West African (Nigerian) organizations utilizing Indonesian and Thai female couriers. These groups obtain their heroin in Bangkok and engage couriers to carry it via commercial air into Soekarno-Hatta Airport in Jakarta. From Jakarta, the heroin is distributed to the United States, Australia and Western Europe, with a smaller amount sold on the local market. Drug traffickers also use Indonesia as a transit point for shipping cocaine to Europe, Asia and the U.S., although there is no evidence that this has a significant effect on the U.S. Structured drug organizations, such as the West African heroin Number 4 trafficking group, are operating in Indonesia. The DEA is working closely with INP Narkoba officials on enforcement efforts to counter this threat. At times Narkoba's efforts have been unintentionally undermined by competing elements of the INP's Criminal Investigative Division (CID). Both offices conduct narcotic investigations, however CID does not concentrate exclusively on this issue.

The INP is attempting to reduce the spread of narcotics into the country through various investigative elements. These investigations increasingly result in fatal shootings of narcotic suspects. West Africans, particularly Nigerians, are often at the center of these investigations and are victims in the shootings. In March 2000, the DEA Singapore Office, INP, and the DEA offices in Kuala Lumpur and New York arrested a Nigerian drug trafficker who was shipping heroin to New York City. This Jakarta-based trafficker was arrested in Kuala Lumpur, by DEA and Malaysian authorities with one (1) kilogram of heroin.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs

Policy Initiatives. In 1997, the Indonesian Parliament approved legislation outlawing psychotropic drugs including ecstasy, and provided for penalties of up to seven years imprisonment for marijuana possession and a maximum of 20 years in jail for marijuana trafficking. It also ratified Indonesia's participation in the 1988 UN drug convention, and passed new antidrug legislation which replaced the previous 1976 law. The 1997 legislation conforms to the criteria set forth in the 1988 UN convention. Since 1997, no new laws concerning narcotics enforcement have been passed.

Accomplishments/Law Enforcement Efforts. The DEA Singapore Office continues its close relationship with the INP Narkoba unit through training, equipment and operational expertise. The INP Narkoba unit is working to develop DEA methods, and DEA continues to work very closely with the INP Narkoba unit to identify potential production and cultivation areas. Eradication of the sale, transport and financing of narcotics remains a primary objective of antinarcotics activities by the authorities, particularly within the domestic markets. Arrests of narcotics traffickers are reported frequently in Jakarta and the Kuta beach area of Bali. Arrests of foreigners, particularly Nigerians, in connection with narcotics use, possession and trafficking are frequently noted in the Indonesian media.

In 2000 Indonesia has made great progress in precursor chemical control as compared to past years. For example, DEA has been able to assist INP/Narkoba in establishing a Precursor Chemical Control Unit. This has resulted in the first ever precursor chemical seizure in a joint investigation between DEA, INP, Indonesian Customs, and the Ministry of Health. In June 2000, approximately 4,400 kilograms of Acetic Anhydride (AA) were seized at the Port of Jakarta. The Indonesian company that was importing the AA from the U.S. did not have the necessary permits and licenses to import AA, which is a precursor chemical used to make heroin. The AA was seized and the company was not allowed to import any more precursor chemicals into Indonesia.

Corruption. Corruption among police and customs personnel persists in Indonesia, with continuing reports from street sources that police personnel often assist drug traffickers or are themselves involved in selling narcotics, and that persons arrested for narcotics trafficking can easily bribe police to free them. Given the low salaries of these officers (USD 40 to 60 per month), they face great temptation to accept bribes from drug traffickers. It should be noted, however, that none of DEA's investigations have ever been compromised by Indonesian narcotics officers.

Agreements and treaties. Indonesia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. While there is no formal extradition relationship between the United States and Indonesia, in practice U.S. and Indonesian authorities have cooperated effectively in resolving extraditions for criminal cases. Indonesia signed the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols in December, 2000.

Cultivation and production. As their limited resources permit, the INP, in particular, the narcotics unit, and Indonesian customs continue their efforts to combat narcotics smuggling. As in previous years, the illicit cultivation of marijuana in Aceh province was the target of periodic eradication campaigns. The INP is strong in its enforcement efforts aimed at eradicating drug trafficking in Jakarta and other urban areas. However, they face more difficulties in outlying rural areas. At this point there is no measurable evidence that their counternarcotics efforts have had any significant impact on drug usage.

Drug Flow/Transit. Indonesia continues to be used as a transit point for Southeast and Southwest Asian heroin and other drugs, including transshipment to the United States in small quantities, Australia and Europe. Because of Indonesia's porous borders, drug traffickers find this an attractive area. Customs and immigration officials working outside of the capitol are easier to bribe and less motivated in their work. Drug traffickers can thus move their products into and out of Indonesia relatively easily.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

U.S. Policy Initiatives. The United States supports adoption of new legislation for money laundering and asset forfeiture. The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta and the DEA Attach� in Singapore coordinate cooperation with the GOI on narcotics matters. Indonesian authorities fully support the DEA in all narcotic matters. The DEA will continue to assist the INP to increase its ability to handle bilateral investigations against major trafficking groups. GOI resources will have a direct impact in this area. DEA will provide training to the INP Narkoba unit in how to better utilize their drug laws. This will enhance their counter drug efforts and provide a more viable platform to work cases with DEA and other U.S. law enforcement agencies. Over the last year, 10 INP Narkoba officers have attended training at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok. DEA will request and continue to provide training for the INP Narkoba unit. This will include two special training sessions from DEA's Office of International Training for a two-week basic drug investigation course in Jakarta and a second two-week course in Denpasar, Bali.

Bilateral Cooperation. Cooperation has been excellent between the RSO's office and the INP, but especially so between the INP's Narkoba unit and the DEA. Training programs mentioned above were provided to the INP during 2000.

DEA plans to recommend candidates for the ILEA course in 2001 and continue training of INP Narkoba officers in Indonesia. U.S. Customs continues to work with Indonesian customs to enhance and upgrade the narcotics detection/canine interdiction program at Soekarno-Hatta international airport as a result of DEA training. Police narcotics officers and customs officials greatly improved their operating procedures, i.e., surveillance and contraband search techniques, intelligence gathering, interview techniques, report writing, arrest procedures, and execution of controlled deliveries. DEA has helped the INP narcotics unit to establish a drug intelligence database to track all drug arrests throughout Indonesia. During 2000, the Government of Indonesia continued to cooperate with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on narcotics cases. The DEA encourages regional cooperation against West African heroin organizations. INL and the U.S. Treasury Department have identified funding for continued financial crime investigation training and assistance in drafting money-laundering legislation.

The Road Ahead. The United States will continue to work closely with the INP and Indonesian Customs to enhance their abilities to combat narcotics trafficking and abuse through training opportunities in Indonesia and at ILEA Bangkok. Close cooperation on investigations between the Indonesian Government and DEA will continue.


I. Summary

Although Japan is not a major producer of drugs, it is one of the largest methamphetamine markets in Asia; an estimated 600,000 addicts and 2.18 million casual users nationwide consumed 10-20 metric tons of imported methamphetamines in 2000. Most of the methamphetamines smuggled into Japan is believed to have been refined in the People's Republic of China (PRC), Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Philippines, although there have been methamphetamine seizures linked to Burma and to North Korea. Japanese law-enforcement officials have made record methamphetamine seizures in the last two years. Through November 2000, almost 713 kilograms of methamphetamines were seized, which is the second largest volume Japanese officials have seized in any given calendar year. Single record seizures of MDMA ("ecstasy") and LSD were also made in 2000. While not a significant route for drug trafficking, Japan is regarded as a major money-laundering center, and narcotics-related money laundering is believed to be more serious in Japan than is indicated by arrests and prosecutions. Japan has been a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention since 1992.

II. Status of Country

Japan is not, and is unlikely to become, a significant producer of narcotics or precursor chemicals used in the production of illicit narcotics. However, it is believed to have one of the largest methamphetamine markets in Asia. Methamphetamine continued to be Japan's most widely abused drug in 2000. Approximately 90 percent of all drug arrests in 2000 involved this substance, and authorities estimate there are 600,000 addicts and 2.18 million casual users nationwide. These users consumed 10-20 metric tons of imported methamphetamines in 2000.

Narcotics trafficking remains a source of income for Japanese organized crime, and Japanese law-enforcement officials report that the participation of the illegal immigrant population in drug-trafficking activity continued to increase. However, Japan is not an important transshipment point for drug traffickers. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) Tokyo Office, there were no cases in 2000 of transshipment of Southeast Asian heroin through Japan destined for the United States.

While not an important route for drug traffickers, Japan is a major money-laundering center. A detailed discussion of money laundering is in the Money Laundering and Financial Crimes section of this report.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2000

Policy Initiatives. In August 2000 the Japanese Diet enacted legislation that allows law-enforcement authorities to use wiretaps in certain criminal investigations, including suspected drug offenses. Wiretaps can only be used, however, if law-enforcement officials show that all other investigative techniques have been ineffective.

Accomplishments. In 2000 the U.S. and Japan held another round of negotiations on a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) and exchanged proposed revisions to a draft treaty text. The two sides hope to conclude the treaty negotiations in 2001. The MLAT is expected to expedite and strengthen law-enforcement cooperation.

The Japanese government hosted its first large-scale international narcotics meeting in Tokyo in January 2000, drawing approximately 200 officials from 30 countries who attended three separate conferences, a segment of which was coordinated with the UN Drug Control Program (UNDCP). The conference included a training seminar organized by five Japanese government ministries/law-enforcement agencies. Topics of the three meetings were Amphetamine-Type Stimulants in East Asia, Asian Operational Drug Enforcement, and World Customs Organization—Asia Pacific Region Drug Enforcement. The training seminar focused on maritime drug-enforcement techniques in Asia. Japan continued to sponsor several annual international drug-enforcement and drug-prevention programs in 2000. As an active member of the UNDCP's Major Donors group, Japan provided important financial support to many UNDCP programs. Japan also participated in all major conferences conducted in 2000 throughout the world that concerned narcotics trafficking.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Although less than the record amount seized in 1999, the volume of methamphetamines seized by Japanese authorities through November 2000 was the second largest amount seized by Japanese officials in a calendar year. Narcotics enforcement agents also made record single seizures of LSD (40,000 tablets) and MDMA (50,000 dosage units) in 2000.

Police antinarcotics efforts tend to focus on Japanese organized crime groups, which are the main smugglers and distributors of drugs. However, police and prosecutors have been hesitant to pursue cases in which the likelihood of a conviction is uncertain. In addition to smuggling and distribution activities, law-enforcement officials are starting to pay increased attention to drug-related financial crimes. The Financial Services Agency received over 4,000 reports of suspicious transactions in 2000.

In 1998 the National Police Agency (NPA) seized a total of about U.S. $7.23 million in drug proceeds in 82 investigations under the Asset Seizure Law, which took effect in 1992. No figures have been made available for total seizures in 1999 or the first eleven months of 2000. However, the NPA reported having seized about U.S. $1.4 million in drug proceeds in a series of cases in 1999 involving illegal immigrant traffickers.

Corruption. Japan has no known drug-related corruption.

Asset Forfeiture. Japan has established systems for identifying, tracing, freezing, seizing, and forfeiting narcotics-related assets. The Japanese seizure statute allows the government to seize: 1) those funds that can be directly linked to a specific drug investigation/violation (i.e. illicit proceeds); 2) any property derived from illicit proceeds; 3) any property obtained in reward for committing an offense; and 4) any property ruled to be a "fruit of the crime." In the event illicit funds have been commingled with legitimate funds, Japanese law states that only an amount of the legitimate property equivalent to the amount of illicit property may be confiscated. This portion of the law, however, remains to be tested. A legitimate business cannot be seized if it is used to launder money or other criminal proceeds. The Central Government Treasury receives the proceeds of narcotics-related asset seizures and forfeitures.

Although the Japanese government has the authority to forfeit seized assets, the law only allows for criminal, not civil, forfeiture. The severe burden Japanese law places on law-enforcement authorities to prove a direct connection to criminal activity makes it difficult to enforce the asset-seizure law and may allow traffickers to shield assets. No new legislation was introduced in 2000 to amend Japanese laws regarding seizure and forfeiture of assets of narcotics traffickers. Japan has not enacted laws that allow for sharing of seized narcotics assets with other countries.

Agreements and Treaties. Japan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. A U.S.-Japan Extradition Treaty is currently in force, as is a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement. The U.S. and Japan are engaged in negotiations on a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. In February 2000 Japan and Vietnam signed a counternarcotics agreement that provides for information sharing and Japanese training for Vietnamese counternarcotics officers. In December 2000 Japan signed the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime.

Cultivation/Production. Although Japan does not cultivate or manufacture controlled substances, it is a major producer of 60 types of precursor chemicals that have legitimate industrial uses. For example, Japan is one of only a handful of countries that produce ephedrine, a chemical used in antihistamines, but which is also an essential ingredient in methamphetamine production. Ephedrine is strictly controlled under Japanese law, and the penalties for importation are almost as severe as those for importation of methamphetamines. Japan is a member of the Chemical Action Task Force (CATF) and recently increased the number of chemicals it controls from the 22 identified by the CATF to 28. The DEA Country Attach� in Japan also conscientiously monitors end users of precursors.

Drug Flow/Transit. Almost all drugs illicitly trafficked in Japan are smuggled from overseas. According to the National Police Agency, the PRC, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, North Korea, and Burma are principal sources.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Domestic programs focus primarily on interdiction. Drug treatment programs are small and are generally run by private organizations. The Japanese government provides narcotics-related counseling designed to prevent drug use and supports the rehabilitation of addicts at prefectural Health Centers and Mental Health and Welfare Centers at the prefecture level. Prefecture governments also employ part-time narcotics counselors. The Japanese government continued to support a number of drug awareness campaigns, including the five-year campaign drawn up in 1998 by the Headquarters for the Promotion of Measures to Prevent Drug Abuse, an office headed by the Prime Minister. The five-year program is designed to inform the public about the growing use of stimulants in Japan, especially among junior and senior high-school students. As part of the program, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, along with prefectural governments and a variety of private organizations, continued to administer national publicity campaigns using ads that run on television, radio, and electronic scoreboards used at major sporting events. The plan also promotes drug education programs at the community level, including one that organizes talks between students and former drug addicts and another that provides posters with antidrug messages that targets students attending high-school baseball games.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives. U.S. goals and objectives include progression toward concluding a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty; strengthening enforcement cooperation, including participation in controlled deliveries; encouraging more demand-reduction programs; encouraging effective use of new anticrime legislation; and encouraging action by government agencies responsible for financial transaction oversight.

Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S.-Japan Common Agenda for Global Cooperation, established in 1993, includes a narcotics working group where the U.S. and Japan have worked together to reduce supply and demand for narcotics in third countries. Under the Common Agenda, both countries also contributed to UNDCP programs. U.S. and Japanese law-enforcement officials continued to cooperate in 2000 to investigate allegations of money laundering and to monitor the use of precursor and essential chemicals.

The Road Ahead. U.S. law-enforcement agencies will continue to work closely with their Japanese counterparts on drug and crime investigations, including money laundering. The U.S. and Japan will continue to work toward concluding a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty and to explore new, cooperative counternarcotics initiatives.


I. Summary

Laos remains the world's third largest producer of illicit opium, although well behind Burma and Afghanistan. For the 2000 growing season, the U.S. estimates Laos' potential production at 210 metric tons, which is substantially higher than the 1999 estimate of 140 metric tons. Opium cultivation increased six percent. The higher production estimate can be attributed to improved weather conditions and an increase in estimated yields, although the increase in cultivation also contributed to a lesser degree. Most crop substitution project areas funded by the USG continued to show low levels of opium cultivation. In March, the GOL held its first national conference on drug control, at which counternarcotics strategies and work plans were formulated. In October, Laos formally committed itself to eliminating opium by 2008 and all drugs by 2015, in accordance with the political statement and plan of action enacted by regional countries at a UNDCP Congress in Bangkok. The Lao Government continued to work closely with the UNDCP to develop a master plan for opium elimination and to raise funds for that effort. As a first step for the new Lao-American project in Phongsali Province, construction began on a 72-km road that will link remote, opium-cultivating villages. New counternarcotics law enforcement offices (CNO's) were opened in Champasak and Houapanh provinces, and the Udomxai CNO moved to INL-refurbished quarters. Seizures of heroin and methamphetamine increased sharply, and the Lao police cooperated with U.S. officials in counterfeit U.S. currency investigations. Police performance in general, however, continued to fall short of goals. Counternarcotics police units need more training and better coordination. The Government of Laos (GOL) is not yet a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention; its stated goal is ratification of the convention in the near future, as agreed by all participants in the 1998 UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs.

II. Status of Country

Laos remains the third largest producer of illicit opium in the world, although far less opium is produced there and is done so on a much smaller scale than the leading producers, Burma and Afghanistan. It reportedly also has the second highest rate of opium addiction in the world, behind Iran. Because Lao opium is grown by small-scale subsistence farmers without access to fertilizer, irrigation, or other agricultural improvements, average yields are usually less than half that found in neighboring Burma. The USG continues to support crop control and development programs in Laos in order to help the GOL change farmer practices before an improving economy or organization of opium cultivation by criminal syndicates boosts yields and overall production.

Laos' location next to one of the world's largest producers of opium and heroin (Burma), and its land borders with countries that combine important opium markets and ports on trade routes to Europe and America (China, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia), make it an important route for drug trafficking. This importance is increasing as Laos' physical and communications infrastructures gradually improve. USG assistance aims to help upgrade Lao judicial and law enforcement institutions before regional trafficking syndicates overwhelm them.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2000

Policy Initiatives. In March, the GOL convened its first national drug conference on drug control. Government officials discussed drug problems in the provinces; established a standard structure for provincial drug control committees; and explained provincial committee responsibilities for carrying out the new drug control master plan developed with UNDCP. The GOL and UNDCP signed project agreements for that plan in July. In October, a Lao delegation attended the Bangkok UNDCP/ASEAN Congress on a Drug-Free ASEAN, and formally committed the Lao Government to that forum's political statement and plan of action, including the elimination of opium by 2008 and the elimination of all drugs in the region by 2015. The head of the Lao delegation announced that Laos hopes to eliminate opium even earlier, by 2006 if possible, in line with the UNDCP 6-year plan of action for Laos. The GOL secured a 20 million USD loan from the Asia Development Bank to cover part of the estimated 80 million USD cost of the UNDCP plan. Meanwhile, the Lao continued to urge other donors to support the UNDCP plan, which is not yet fully operational due to lack of funds. This ambitious plan includes alternative development, law enforcement, and demand reduction elements. It replaces the previous counternarcotics plan (1993-2000), which also was developed with UNDCP assistance.

Accomplishments. In January, the GOL and UNDCP conducted an opium field survey of 391 villages in 11 provinces of northern Laos. In February, Lao officials cooperated with, and participated in, the USG's opium yield survey in seven northern provinces. These surveys produced new data that will aid the GOL and the donors in further refining their counternarcotics efforts. In April, senior Lao police officials from provinces bordering Thailand met with their Thai counterparts to discuss measures for increasing drug interdiction cooperation. A similar meeting at the ministerial level was held in October. In November, Lao counternarcotics police attended a meeting in Rangoon with their counterparts from the entire Asia-Pacific region. In December, UNDCP conducted a seminar for counternarcotics police in the northwest provinces; NAS and DEA participated in this initiative designed to improve seizures and arrests of drug traffickers. In April and September, respectively, new INL-funded counternarcotics Offices (CNOs) opened in Champasak and Houaphan provinces. In March, the Oudomxai CNO was moved into quarters refurbished by INL; the new office officially opened in October. The GOL released the results of its 1999 survey of drug abuse among Vientiane youth, conducted with assistance from UNDCP. This survey provides the first base-line data about the extent of such abuse, particularly of methamphetamines.

Law Enforcement Efforts. INL-funded counternarcotics offices (CNO's) in eight provinces, along with other provincial police offices, reported 184 cases in 2000, resulting in the arrests of 617 suspects, including 14 foreign nationals. Most arrests were of small-scale traffickers. These cases involved the seizure of 20.3 kilograms of heroin, 78.4 kilograms of opium, 1,508,521 methamphetamine tablets, 1,862 metric tons of marijuana, and 1,777,486 marijuana plants. Seizures for heroin and methamphetamine tablets increased from 1999, by 38 percent and 86 percent, respectively. The very large rise in the number of methamphetamine tablets seized is due mainly to one case in Luang Namtha involving 400,000 tablets. However, seizures were down for opium and raw cannabis, by 65 percent and 15 percent, respectively. Trafficker vehicles, weapons, and cash were confiscated in a large number of cases. In one case, counternarcotics police in Oudomxai province also seized equipment for processing opium into morphine. Police conducted investigations into two cases involving counterfeit U.S. dollars, in which $12,600 in false bills were seized. One of the cases appeared to be linked with narcotics trafficking. Notwithstanding GOL and donor efforts to improve the counternarcotics network, police coordination, both within the GOL system and bilaterally with the U.S. Embassy, remained weak.

Corruption. The Lao government does not encourage or facilitate the production or distribution of illicit drugs. Indeed, the GOL states that it tries to enforce its laws against abuse of narcotics drugs, but its efforts are sometimes hindered by the vagueness of its laws. Moreover, given Laos' poverty and the very low salaries of Lao government employees, it is assumed that some officials and military personnel may receive rewards from illicit drug trafficking. Past corruption cases have included some officials at relatively senior levels. The GOL has stated that it will not tolerate narcotics-related corruption. To the Embassy's knowledge, no Lao officials were arrested, prosecuted, or sentenced in 2000 for involvement in drug trafficking.

Agreements and Treaties. The U.S. and Lao governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on counter narcotics cooperation in 1990. Bilateral crop control agreements have been signed annually since then; bilateral law enforcement project agreements have been signed annually since 1992. Both countries have expressed their intention to continue and expand this cooperation. Although the GOL does not have a mutual legal assistance or extradition treaty with the United States, it has in the past cooperated in deporting drug traffickers to the U.S. To date, the GOL has a fully ratified bilateral extradition treaty only with Vietnam. Similar treaties with Thailand and Cambodia are nearing ratification on both sides. Since 1998, Laos and Germany have been executing a three-year project agreement focusing on demand reduction. Laos also is a signatory to an MOU on regional counternarcotics cooperation with UNDCP and the other Mekong basin countries (China, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam).

Laos has bilateral counternarcotics treaties with Vietnam, Burma, and the Philippines, and is an active participant in regional counternarcotics initiatives. Laos is a party to the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1961 UN Single Convention. Although Laos is not yet a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the GOL strives to meet the goals and objectives of that Convention. The GOL has articulated its commitment to ratify the Convention in the near future, and is working with UNDCP to pass legislation, such as chemical control and money laundering regulations, necessary to bring it into compliance with the Convention.

Cultivation and Production. Opium is produced in the ten northern provinces of Laos as a cash or barter crop and as a traditional medicine. The extreme isolation of most opium producing communities and the absence of economic alternatives make opium an important crop for the area's subsistence farmers. After two years of drought, a return to more normal growing conditions in Laos led to increases in opium poppy cultivation and production. USG 2000 crop estimates indicate a six percent increase in poppy cultivation to 23,150 hectares. Potential opium production rose 50 percent, from 140 metric tons to 210 metric tons. Most of the heaviest production remained in the north, where USG and other donor crop control initiatives are targeted.

Drug Flow/Transit. The GOL's ability to control the flow of narcotics within and across its lengthy, porous borders is severely limited by lack of personnel, resources, expertise, and ready access to many isolated areas of the country. Effective control over borders with Thailand, Burma, China, Vietnam, and Cambodia exists only in the vicinity of major population areas, along principal land routes, and at established river crossings. As Lao road infrastructure improves, and as interdiction efforts on Burma's borders with China and Thailand grows more efficient, Laos is apparently becoming a more popular route for illicit drugs. Vietnam and Thailand continued to report ever-increasing drug flows entering their territories via Laos.

Domestic (Demand Reduction) Programs. Opium addiction is still the main drug use problem in Laos, and the UNDCP estimates that Laos has an addiction rate that is second only to that found in Iran. Addiction is overwhelmingly a rural phenomenon and concentrated in the north of the country. Many addicts use opium because they have no access to public health care facilities. In its 2000 opium survey report, UNDCP estimates an opium addict population of 62,895 persons. According to UNDCP calculations, 2.26 percent of the population above 15 years is addicted to opium. In the northern provinces alone, the addiction rate is 4.84 percent of the population above 15 years old. The GOL is putting great emphasis on detoxification programs for addicts, although implementation details are left to provincial administrations. The location of most addicts in remote, often inaccessible rural areas increases the cost and difficulty of treatment and follow up. The release of a 1999 UNDCP survey of urban student drug use brought alarming news regarding methamphetamine use and the first appearance of ecstasy. The survey estimated that a full 17 percent of Vientiane teenagers had experimented with drugs of one kind or another, including methamphetamine. Local methamphetamine use was almost unknown as recently as four years ago. Press articles indicate the methamphetamine use also may be spreading to outlying villages.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives. The USG focuses on helping the GOL achieve two primary counternarcotics objectives: elimination of opium poppy cultivation, and suppression of illicit drug and precursor chemical trafficking. The USG is addressing the first goal through bilateral crop control projects, first in Houapanh province and now in Phongsali province. The USG works closely with UNDCP and other donors of development assistance to ensure that counternarcotics objectives are included in all rural development programs in northern Laos. Suppression of trafficking is pursued through support of special counternarcotics police units and the Lao customs service. Additional support has been provided to the Lao National Commission for Drug Control and Supervision (LCDC), which has overall policy direction for counternarcotics activities under the Office of the Prime Minister.

Bilateral Cooperation. In 1999, the USG began funding a crop control and development project in Phongsali, one of Laos' most important opium-producing provinces. This is modeled after the successful Lao-American Project in Houaphan province. In response to GOL requests, the USG will support the establishment of counternarcotics law enforcement units in each province over the next few years. In May 2000, Lao customs officials participated in US-sponsored narcotics and contraband smuggling training at the national post office facility in Vientiane. Lao police, customs, and justice officials have been active participants in US-funded training sessions at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok. Approximately 100 Lao officials have been trained at ILEA since the academy began operations in February 1999. In August 2000, the Counternarcotics Department of the Ministry of Interior shared information with the U.S. Embassy regarding investigations of counterfeit U.S. currency.

The Road Ahead. The GOL is committed to eliminate commercial opium cultivation in advance of the UNGASS 2008 (UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs) target date. In 2000, the GOL also committed to the UNDCP/ASEAN plan of action for eliminating drug use around the region by 2015. In order to meet these goals, Laos must change the practices of highland farmers and upgrade its law enforcement capacity, before social and economic modernization exacerbates the problems of narcotics production and trafficking. In support of GOL efforts, the USG will continue to provide crop control and development assistance to northern Laos, with particular emphasis on cooperation with UNDCP and other interested donors. U.S. assistance to a network of specialized counternarcotics law enforcement units should increase Lao interdiction capabilities. The GOL needs to improve coordination between these units and other law enforcement bodies to translate capabilities into more significant drug seizures, however. The USG is committed to supporting GOL counternarcotics efforts, in recognition of gradual GOL progress in this area and of the many development challenges that hamper the GOL's ability to achieve its counternarcotics objectives on its own. Future counternarcotics achievements will depend on the GOL's effective use of both its own resources and those of interested donors.

Laos Statistics














Potential Harvest (ha)










Cultivation (ha)







Potential Yield (mt)












Opium (mt)










Cannabis (mt)










Heroin (mt)










(1) Narcotics and law enforcement statistics have not been kept in the past by the Government of Laos. Although the Counternarcotics Committee is now charged with the responsibility, most of the statistics available have been gleaned from the Lao press.


I. Summary

Malaysia is not a significant producer of illegal drugs. Heroin and other drugs from neighboring Southeast Asian countries transit Malaysia. Although there is no evidence that a significant quantity of illegal drugs reaches the U.S. through Malaysia, it remains a country of concern to the U.S. Domestic drug abuse is a problem. Malaysia's competent counternarcotics officials and police officers have the full support of senior government officials. In the first nine months of 2000, narcotics-related arrests increased in comparison to the same period last year. A significant trend for this year is the sharp increase in crystal methamphetamine seizures and related clandestine laboratories. Cooperation with the U.S. on combating drug trafficking is excellent. Malaysia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Malaysia does not produce significant quantities of illicit drugs. Some heroin from the nearby golden triangle area transits Malaysia, but there is little evidence that a significant amount of this heroin reaches the U.S. Some other drugs, primarily psychotropic pills and crystal methamphetamine, also transit Malaysia. Reliable statistics on domestic drug abuse are difficult to obtain. Anecdotal reports indicate that domestic drug abuse, primarily of heroin, psychotropic pills (ATS), and particularly crystal methamphetamine is growing. There is some evidence of diversion of precursor chemicals. Additional legislative controls on precursor chemicals would strengthen Malaysia's performance in this area. The Ministry of Health is currently pursuing legislation to increase penalties for diversion of precursor chemicals.

III. Country Action Against Drugs in 2000

Policy Initiatives. The National Narcotics Agency (NNA) is the policy arm of Malaysia's counternarcotics strategy. Malaysia launched two major counternarcotics policy initiatives in 2000. In cooperation with NNA, a predominantly ethnic Chinese political party that forms part of the government's ruling coalition launched a major public awareness and demand reduction campaign against ecstasy. The Malaysian police also mounted raids against nightclubs and other establishments tolerating ecstasy use. Suspected users were subject to urine tests.

The NNA's second major initiative in 2000 was a community-based approach to national drug policy. The NNA formed ethnically based working groups within the agency to address the specific needs of each of Malaysia's three major ethnic communities. The NNA's objective is to work with community leaders and ethnically based political parties to create a receptive climate to the NNA's community outreach efforts. On the legislative front, the Ministry of Health is advocating tougher penalties for the diversion of precursor chemicals.

Accomplishments. A solid institutional and policy foundation supports Malaysian counternarcotics efforts. Senior leaders often state that counternarcotics efforts are one of Malaysia's top national priorities, and they view drug abuse and trafficking as an issue of national security. Malaysia is not a significant producer of illegal drugs, so law enforcement efforts were focused on the sale, transport and distribution of narcotics within Malaysia and abroad. The lack of a comprehensive anti-money laundering statute makes money laundering an area of concern. However, Malaysia joined the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) and has agreed to undergo the mutual evaluation process. In September, the central bank hosted a U.S. Treasury official at a well-attended seminar for public and private sector executives to highlight the country's new anti-money laundering effort.

Law enforcement efforts. Malaysian police investigate and prosecute narcotics crimes vigorously, identifying abusers and traffickers, and limiting the distribution, sale, and financing of illicit drugs in Malaysia. Arrests and seizures were generally above the levels of 1999, especially for crimes related to crystal methamphetamine. Between January and September 2000, law enforcement officers seized over 65 kilograms of crystal methamphetamines compared to 3.75 kilograms seized in the same period last year. Malaysia's largest crystal methamphetamine seizure in 2000 occurred in December, when police seized roughly 141 kilograms. From January to September 2000, the government arrested 12,813 people for drug offenses, an 11 percent increase over last year. Narcotics-related detentions without trial increased by 21 percent to 1,259. Seizures of clandestine labs nearly doubled to nine seizures through November 2000. Malaysian counternarcotics efforts increasingly emphasized foreign drug supply and the need for international law enforcement cooperation to stem drug flows.

Corruption. Malaysia has an anticorruption agency with no power to prosecute, but with the power to investigate independently and make arrests. The local media reported incidents of drug-related corruption in lower ranks of the police. No senior police were prosecuted for drug-related corruption.

Agreements and Treaties. The U.S.-Malaysian extradition treaty came into force in 1997. The U.S. has submitted requests under the treaty but the fugitives in those cases have not been located. Malaysia is a party to the 1988 UN convention. Resource constraints have slowed Malaysia's efforts to move forward on a mutual assistance treaty with the U.S.

Drug Flow/Transit. Malaysia's geographic proximity to the heroin producing golden triangle area provides for smuggling routes across Malaysian borders. While heroin transiting Malaysia does not appear to have a significant impact on the U.S. market, there are indications that groups of third country nationals are using Malaysia as a transit point for limited quantities of heroin bound for the United States.

Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). A demand reduction program initiated in public schools and a drug-free workplace prevention program initiated in 1999 continued in 2000. Since available evidence indicates that drug abuse is growing, Malaysia increased and upgraded its 27 publicly funded drug treatment centers. Existing facilities have been physically renovated and a new treatment center in the state of Sabah is scheduled to open in 2001. Treatment centers are also being slated to target specific drug using populations, including women and youth. Other treatment centers now focus on work therapy, religious instruction or a multi-disciplinary approach. Complementary to the NNA's new community-oriented focus, more addicts are being treated on an outpatient basis in their own communities whenever possible, instead of residing in a treatment center. Two treatment centers housing addicts with additional criminal convictions experienced separate incidents of violence and escapes; these incidents occurred after the perpetrators engaged in criminal activity while on furlough from treatment centers.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S. has greatly expanded counternarcotics training via the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok. ILEA Bangkok trained 53 law enforcement officials on chemical precursors, financial investigations (money laundering), controlled deliveries, and other topics. The year 2000 marked the inauguration of a five-year "Baker-Mint" counternarcotics training program. The goal of the Baker-Mint program is to raise the operational skill level of local counternarcotics law enforcement. In addition to ILEA and Baker-Mint, the United States has a successful bilateral Memorandum of Understanding on counternarcotics cooperation with Malaysia. In 2000, the U.S. again funded domestic demand reduction programs.

Road Ahead. U.S. law enforcement agencies will continue to cooperate with Malaysian authorities to monitor and interdict drugs transiting Malaysia. U.S.-funded counternarcotics training for local law enforcement and modest assistance for domestic Demand Reduction programs will continue. The U.S. will continue to pursue an MLAT and encourage the government of Malaysia to adopt anti-money laundering legislation. Effective money-laundering legislation will help counternarcotics efforts. A mutual legal assistance treaty would assist U.S. law enforcement in obtaining information and intelligence from Malaysian counterparts.


Drug trafficking and abuse are not widespread in Mongolia, but are on the rise and have drawn the attention of the government and of non-governmental organizations. Mongolia's young, burgeoning, urban population is especially vulnerable to the growing drug trade, leading the government to believe that Mongolia has a window of only two-to-three years to develop a national drug strategy to prevent drug availability and use from becoming acute problems.

Mongolia's long, unprotected borders with Russia and China are vulnerable to all types of illegal trade, including drug trafficking. Illegal migrants, mostly traveling from China through Mongolia to Russia and Europe, sometimes transport and traffic in drugs. Police suspect that trafficking in persons and prostitution are also connected to the drug trade.

The protection of Mongolia's borders has become a government priority, and U.S.-sponsored projects to promote Mongolia's participation in regional law-enforcement conferences and training have provided some assistance. Mongolia's ability to patrol its borders, detect illegal smuggling, and investigate transnational criminal cases is hindered by a lack of financial and technical resources. Although Mongolia is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention and its 1972 Protocol, it is not a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, since many of its provisions are not applicable to local circumstances. Nevertheless, the government of Mongolia attempts to meet the goals and objectives of international initiatives on drugs, where possible, as demonstrated by its recent destruction of marijuana plants growing in north central Mongolia. The U.S. and Mongolia have concluded a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement.

Scattered reports indicate that the availability and use of marijuana, heroin, amphetamines, and over-the-counter drugs have increased. The Mongolian government, now alert to precursor chemical production and export issues, has closed suspected facilities, but foreign interest in the production, export, and transit of precursor chemicals in Mongolia continues to surface. Mongolian internal corruption and financial crimes appear unrelated to narcotics activities. The weakness of the legal system and financial structures, however, leaves Mongolia vulnerable to exploitation by drug traffickers and international criminal organizations, particularly those operating in China and Russia.

Growth in international trade and the number of visitors to Mongolia increase concerns about a rise in transnational organized crime. The presence and activities of organized crime elements from Russia and China are difficult for Mongolian law-enforcement agencies to detect, however.

In 2000 Mongolian police uncovered approximately $1 million in counterfeit U.S. currency. Because Mongolia is not a financial center, money laundering is limited. Financial fraud for the most part involves illegal money transfers and public corruption, including corruption among police officials and officers.

The Mongolian government and law-enforcement officials have increased their participation in regional and international fora focused on crime and drug issues. For example, discussions are underway for Mongolia to join the Asia-Pacific Group Against Money Laundering. Domestic non-governmental organizations work to fight drug addiction and the spread of narcotics, as well as trafficking in women. International donors are working with the government to help Mongolia develop the capacity to address narcotics and related criminal activities before they become an additional burden on Mongolia's development. U.S. government assistance in these efforts includes international visitor programs on transnational crime and counternarcotics, as well as joint operations and training by regional representatives of the Drug Enforcement Agency, the U.S. Customs Service, the Internal Revenue Service, and the U.S. Secret Service.

North Korea

Reports that illicit opium poppy, heroin, and methamphetamine are cultivated or produced in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea or the DPRK) and that North Korean nationals are involved in trafficking of illicit drugs have continued. There also have been continuing reports that nationals of the DPRK are involved in other criminal activity, especially counterfeiting, including counterfeiting of U.S. currency. State involvement or support for drug trafficking and other types of criminal activity remains uncertain.

Uncertainty and speculation characterize much of the reporting concerning narcotics cultivation and production within North Korea. However, the involvement of DPRK nationals in large scale illicit trafficking in methamphetamine stimulants, especially to Japan and Taiwan, is reasonably well established, as is the use of North Korean territorial waters as a transit point for this traffic. Actual illicit production of methamphetamine in North Korea is alleged, but is less well established by hard evidence. There were seizures of substantial quantities of methamphetamine, said to be of North Korean origin, in Japan as recently as February of 2000. Police in Japan and China are convinced that illicit drugs are produced and trafficked from North Korea.

Because there continued to be no concrete evidence of illicit opium cultivation in North Korea in excess of 1,000 hectares, North Korea was not placed on the Majors List in 2000. U.S. authorities also found no evidence that illicit narcotics produced in or trafficked from North Korea enters the United States. North Korea nonetheless remains a country of concern to the U.S.

DPRK nationals are reportedly involved in trafficking heroin or methamphetamine to the People's Republic of China (PRC), Russia, Japan, and other parts of the region. One hundred and thirty kilograms (286 lbs) of heroin that reportedly originated from North Korea were seized on Taiwan in late December 2000. Trafficking of drugs from North Korea and its territorial waters may have had a significant impact on the PRC, Japan, and Taiwan. Drugs transiting North Korea have had some impact on Russia, but that impact is modest in comparison to drugs trafficked from Afghanistan.

While there have been fewer cases of seizures of drugs with a North Korean connection since the early part of 2000, there continue to be large seizures on Taiwan and in Japan, which suggest continuing involvement of North Korean nationals and North Korean territory in narcotics trafficking.

Alleged Opium Cultivation, Heroin Production, and Trafficking. Sources of information about North Korean opium cultivation and alleged heroin production are quite limited. North Korean officials admit that opium is grown in North Korea, but maintain that it is used for medicines and painkillers. Defectors routinely report that illicit opium poppy cultivation and state-directed refining of opium into heroin occur throughout the northern part of the DPRK. Estimates of the area under cultivation range from 4,200 hectares (10,378 acres) to 7,000 hectares (17,300 acres), and estimates of opium production range from 30 metric tons (MT) to 44 MT annually. Based on those estimates, the expected yield would be approximately 3 to 4.5 MT of heroin, if all opium was exclusively used to produce heroin.

These estimates have not been confirmed, however, and the amount of opium used for medicines is uncertain. Agricultural problems in North Korea, including flooding and shortages of fertilizer and insecticides, suggest that current opium production might be well below these estimates. There has also been a very clear shift in Asian drug abuse away from opium toward amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS). North Korean exploitation of the ATS market may also suggest a decline in opium cultivation and heroin production in North Korea. Nevertheless seizures of heroin linked to North Korea in the PRC and Russia and on Taiwan over the past several years lend credence to reports that opium is illicitly grown there and refined into heroin.

On December 28, 2000, Taiwan investigators took a 42-year-old Taiwan resident into custody at his home in Taipei, where they seized 130 kilograms (286 lbs) of heroin packed in bricks. Taiwan authorities are quoted in press articles as stating that based on their investigation and interrogation of the suspect, the heroin was produced in and trafficked from North Korea. This one seizure was as large as cumulative opiate seizures on Taiwan for the whole of 2000. There have also been large seizures of methamphetamine on Taiwan reportedly produced in and trafficked from North Korea. For example, in May 1999 Taiwan authorities arrested four individuals and seized 157 kilograms of amphetamine-type stimulants believed to be North Korean in origin. The Taiwan authorities' subsequent investigation revealed that the drugs had been picked up in North Korea and then transported back to Taiwan aboard a Taiwan fishing vessel.

The amount of drugs seized in Russia and the PRC and thought to be of North Korean origin appears to have declined from previous years. Most opiates seized in Russia during 2000 originated from Afghanistan. Unlike prior years, there have been no reports of large seizures of North Korean opiates in the Russian Far East. There have been seizures of reported North Korean origin drugs, both opiates and amphetamine-type stimulants, in areas of the PRC bordering North Korea, but the quantities of both narcotics seized have been smaller than those seized on Taiwan and in Japan. A typical case in the PRC involved an individual found with a few kilograms of ATS. Enforcement officials in the PRC and in Russia view drugs originating from North Korea as a continuing threat to the areas they police.

While trafficking of opium/heroin from North Korea appears to be down somewhat based on indicators like apprehensions and seizures, the decline could be the result of any number of factors, such as adjustments in trafficking methods that foil detection or a shift to ATS production by North Korean traffickers.

Alleged Production and Trafficking of Amphetamine-Type Stimulants from North Korea. Beginning in the mid-1990s, North Korean state enterprises heightened their efforts to import ephedrine, the primary chemical needed to produce amphetamine-type stimulants. The extraordinarily large quantities the North Koreans tried to import attracted the attention of the UN agency charged with monitoring drug precursors, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). Indeed, at least twice during 1997, the INCB successfully challenged and stopped attempted North Korean ephedrine imports. Despite the successful challenges by the INCB, other large shipments of ephedrine have likely reached North Korea.

Reports suggest that a significant portion of the ATS in Japan is supplied by North Korea. Amphetamine and methamphetamine are the drugs most commonly abused in Japan. More than 2 million Japanese consume an estimated 20 metric tons of ATS annually. Subsequent to increased North Korean efforts to import ephedrine, Japanese enforcement officials made a series of seizures in 1999, cumulatively totaling more than 2 metric tons of illicit amphetamine-type drugs. One of these seizures was the single largest illicit drug seizure in Japanese enforcement history, 565 kilograms (1,243 lbs) of methamphetamine, which Japanese police believe were transferred from a North Korean ship to a Taiwan fishing boat southeast of P'yongyang. This seizure and more than 40 percent of ATS seizures in Japan during 1999 reportedly had some connection with North Korea. While amphetamine seizures in 2000 in Japan totaled approximately 900 kilograms, substantially below the record seizures of 1999 (1,976 kilograms/4,347 lbs), police in Japan continue to believe that a large share of amphetamine-type drugs reaching Japan is North Korean in origin.

Most recently, Japanese authorities seized 250 kilograms (550 lbs) of ATS in February 2001 in a small fishing town on the western coast of Japan. Police believe the drugs were picked up from a North Korean boat in North Korean territorial waters and brought into the country by a conspiracy involving ethnic North Koreans residing in Japan. Since there has been no significant change in the street price for ATS in Japan, the seizures appear to have had little effect on the amount of ATS still reaching the Japanese market.

Allegations of State-Directed Trafficking. The credibility of regular allegations that North Korea engages in state-sponsored drug trafficking and other forms of criminality (e.g., counterfeiting) for profit and to fund state programs, such as weapons development, is difficult to evaluate with certainty, given the inaccessibility of reliable information from and about North Korea. The sizeable seizures of amphetamine and heroin suspected of originating from North Korea in Japan and on Taiwan raise the question how any entity other than the state could traffic in such large quantities of illicit drugs, given the tight controls in place throughout North Korea. The North Korean government attributes drug trafficking and other criminal activities to individual law breakers or criminal organizations. Yet, it appears that those individuals or organizations would have difficulty circumventing official controls without the cooperation of or direct involvement by the state itself.

Allegations of state complicity in the illicit narcotics trade and other criminal enterprises by North Korea remain of profound concern, as the U.S. seeks to determine whether the North Korean state has chosen to sponsor illegal activities as a matter of state policy. Despite close and careful monitoring of North Korea by many law enforcement and foreign affairs agencies, it has been difficult to resolve the dilemma of the extent to which North Korea is involved in drug manufacture and trafficking. It has also been difficult to determine whether North Korea directs a range of criminal activities, including illicit drug manufacture and trafficking.

Over the coming year, the United States will continue to monitor North Korea to determine the extent of any cultivation or production of illicit narcotics there, and to assess the effect that North Korean drug trafficking has on the United States. If reports that there is illicit opium poppy cultivation of 1,000 hectares or more, or that heroin or methamphetamine produced in or transiting North Korea significantly affects the United States can be confirmed, North Korea will be added to the list of major drug producing and drug-transit countries.

Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu

Drug trafficking does not occur on a significant scale in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, or Vanuatu. Drug abuse among urban youth is of growing concern, especially in Papua New Guinea. There are no reliable quantitative measures of either trafficking or abuse in any of these three countries. Beyond the regular activities of their poorly resourced law enforcement agencies, none of the three countries has a centrally-directed narcotics control strategy. None of the three countries is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, although as of December 2000, the Government of Vanuatu was attempting to have Parliament ratify it.

There is no evidence of significant levels of illicit drug production or transit in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, or Vanuatu. These countries are not a source of precursor chemicals.

In Papua New Guinea, cases of potential narcotics transshipment occasionally come to light, but they do not constitute a clear pattern. In one case this year, a local firm allegedly made arrangements to import pseudo-ephedrine in quantities far in excess of legitimate domestic requirements. Government authorities revoked the import authorization when they discovered irregularities in its issuance. The potential involvement of organized drug-traffickers in this case remains a subject of further investigation by PNG law enforcement agencies.

Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands do not have significant exposure to money laundering or other financial crimes.

Due to the very limited extent of drug trafficking and abuse in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu, law enforcement agencies have not established separate initiatives for countering cultivation, production, and distribution of illegal drugs. Similarly, asset seizure, extradition, and mutual legal assistance in narcotics cases occur too infrequently to form the basis for an assessment of the governments' performance in these areas. In general, however, the law enforcement agencies of all three countries have consistently shown themselves to be willing to cooperate with other countries on narcotics enforcement as needed. There is no evidence of corruption related to counternarcotics in these countries.

The Philippines

I. Summary.

In 2000, combating narcotics trafficking continued to be a priority for the government of the Philippines (GOP). The GOP is reviewing options for restructuring its law enforcement agencies to bolster effectiveness in combating drug trafficking. Legislation is in the works to create a single drug enforcement agency (loosely modeled on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.) This legislation has made it through committees in both the house and senate. Legislation on money laundering and asset forfeiture is still pending. The Philippines continues to serve as a transit point and producer of crystal methamphetamine as well as smaller amounts of other illegal drugs.

II. Status of Country

The Philippines is a producer and exporter of marijuana. However, the U.S. is not a major destination for Philippine marijuana and it does not have a significant effect on the U.S. Stemming production is difficult owing to topography, corruption, and the lack of effective or well-funded countermeasures. Marijuana growers generally cultivate in areas which are inaccessible by vehicles, and controlled by rebel groups. Although the Philippines is not a significant producer of other drugs, production of crystal methamphetamine is a growing problem. Law enforcement efforts limit the use of Philippine airports as transshipment points for narcotics. However, seizures in the U.S. mainland, Guam, and locally underscore this as a continuing problem. In 2000, a trend of heroin and cocaine trafficking by West African nationals through the Philippines continued, although their activities have decreased. DEA targeted one cell of the operation and ultimately seized 4.0 kilograms of cocaine in Venezuela. The primary destination of West African trafficking through the Philippines is Japan.

Precursor chemicals for producing crystal methamphetamine are smuggled into the Philippines with relative ease. The Philippine National Police (PNP)—working with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the National Drug Law Enforcement and Prevention Coordinating Center (NDLEPCC) and the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF)—have organized specialized units to work against clandestine laboratories.

Crystal methamphetamine is the favored drug for consumption in the Philippines. Some of it is produced there, and some is smuggled in from surrounding countries, primarily the People's Republic of China (PRC). In late 2000, there was a growing trend to use sea and air shipping containers to smuggle methamphetamines into the Philippines. This appears to be an active supplement to the use of ordinary cargo vessels off-loading to small boats to bring crystal methamphetamine and precursors to the Philippines, although vessels are still being used for multi-hundred kilogram shipments from China to the Philippines. The Philippines exports crystal methamphetamine to Japan, Australia, Korea, the U.S., Guam, and Saipan. Commercial air carriers remain the primary means of shipment to Guam with a typical shipment size of one to four kilograms. The Philippines is not a major money laundering center, although stringent bank secrecy laws make this a potential problem.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2000

Policy Initiatives. The GOP continues to make combating the use and trafficking of illicit drugs a priority, and is continuing its efforts to create an umbrella counternarcotics agency modeled on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

The administration is seeking appropriate legislation to meet 1988 UN Drug Convention objectives and to give the proposed drug enforcement agency the necessary tools to carry out its mandate. A bill patterned after the U.S. RICO (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) statute is still pending in congress. This statute would include some money laundering, asset seizure, and conspiracy provisions. Unfortunately, the antigraft provisions of the proposed RICO statute make its passage politically difficult.

The Philippine Bankers' Association's (BAP) opposition to relaxation of the Philippines' tough bank secrecy laws is also an impediment to enactment of asset seizure laws. The BAP's resistance is based on suspicion that the GOP may misuse information gained from the lifting of bank secrecy. The administration is also determined to seek passage of legislation authorizing consensual eavesdropping and non-consensual wire-tapping.

In 1999 the congress passed legislation reorganizing the PNP which authorized increased pay and training for officers and enables greater focus on counternarcotics efforts. Unfortunately, in 2000 there has yet to be sufficient funding to implement these changes.

Other legislation proposed or pending in 2000 was resubmitted to the congress, and the administration ordered the Congress to "fast-track" this legislation. At the end of 2000, there were 14 bills pending in congress relating to drug law enforcement. In addition to the lack of necessary legislative tools, the Philippines faces at least three basic law enforcement hurdles: problems of tracking, intelligence collection, and law enforcement techniques and standards. These are exacerbated by the lack of resources.

The GOP has been active in promoting the establishment of an ASEAN transnational crime center. If agreed to by ASEAN, the center would seek to enhance policy coordination and intelligence sharing among ASEAN members to combat transnational crime networks, including drug traffickers.

Accomplishments. The Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB)—which participates with the National Drug Law Enforcement Prevention Coordinating Center (NDLEPCC) on matters pertaining to control of dangerous drugs—has agreements with the GOP Departments of Agriculture and Interior and local government and other relevant agencies aimed at implementing an integrated rural development program to eliminate marijuana cultivation through crop substitution. Although these crop substitution efforts have not yet been funded, other marijuana eradication efforts are continuing.

Precursor and Chemical Control. The DDB has a precursors and essential chemicals unit to implement the provisions of Article 12 of the 1988 UN drug convention. Among other things, the unit is responsible for monitoring chemical establishments (including importers, manufacturers, distributors, etc.), narcotics intelligence coordination with domestic and foreign counterparts, and information dissemination. The unit has now established a database of all legitimate chemical manufacturers in the Philippines and has conducted site and records inspections of these companies.

Law Enforcement Efforts. The administration has placed a number of well-qualified officials in key judicial and law enforcement positions and has given them a clear mandate to act. The GOP's drug enforcement efforts have been directed by the NDLEPCC since January 1999. The center has coordinated the activities of the presidential anti-organized crime task force (PAOCTF) and the PNP narcotics group, as well as other agencies involved in drug law enforcement.

Additionally, the GOP established the Philippine Center for Transnational Crime (PCTC) to focus the country's enforcement efforts against international and domestic crime.

Corruption. Philippine law enforcement efforts suffer from corruption among police, customs, and military officials. Judicial corruption is also acknowledged to be an impediment to drug prosecutions. There were some arrests and prosecutions in 2000 of law enforcement and military officials, including from the PNP Maritime and Narcotics Groups, for narcotics related corruption. Efforts are underway to strengthen internal controls within the PNP, and GOP officials are studying DEA vetting procedures as a possible model for the proposed drug enforcement agency.

Agreements and Treaties. The U.S.-GOP extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties of 1994 are functioning. However, no drug cases were processed under either of these agreements in 2000. The GOP is negotiating a mutual counterdrug agreement with the PRC. The Philippines is a party to the 1988 UN drug convention. The Philippines signed the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols in December, 2000.

Asset Forfeiture. The Bill pending in congress patterned after the U.S. RICO status includes an asset seizure provision. In addition to the antigraft provisions causing this Bill's enactment to be politically difficult, the Philippine Banker's Association (BAP) opposition to relaxation of the Philippines' tough bank secrecy laws is also an impediment to enactment. The BAP's resistance is based on suspicion that the GOP may misuse information gained from the lifting on bank secrecy.

Cultivation/Production. Marijuana is grown throughout the Philippines. The largest areas of cultivation are found primarily in the mountainous areas of northern Luzon, central Visayas, and central, southern and western Mindanao. Authorities appear to have lost ground in their eradication efforts since 1999 due to financial constraints.

There is no effective GOP tracking system on crystal methamphetamine production.

Drug Flow/Transit. The use of the Philippines as a transit point for commercial air couriers of heroin has continued at levels roughly equivalent to 1999. Most of this heroin emanates from Thailand and Pakistan and is destined for Alaska, Guam and Europe. In response to successful law enforcement efforts to stem courier activities, traffickers are also using express mail services.

In 2000, Philippine law enforcement officials continued to seize express mail parcels containing cocaine. This cocaine originated in South America and was apparently destined for the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

Crystal methamphetamine continues to be smuggled by ship from the PRC. In addition, criminals transship crystal methamphetamine by express mail services to the United States and by commercial air couriers to Guam and the mainland United States.

Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). In 1999, at the urging of the DEA, the Philippine drug law enforcement community reconsidered the issue of the number of drug addicts and determined that the total number is probably close to one million nationwide. However, the GOP law enforcement agencies are still studying the issue to determine the number of addicts or abusers involved in each drug category.

The Philippines continues to promote the "Mamamayan Ayaw Sa Droga" or Citizens Against Drugs (MAD) program as a demand reduction vehicle throughout the country. The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) Philippines program is still in place and has been successful in reaching thousands of students since its inception.

To address demand reduction, a comprehensive school-based drug education program has been launched by the Dangerous Drugs Board in collaboration with the Department of Education, Culture and Sports and local government units nationwide. Advocacy programs on drug abuse prevention education were also implemented in various workplaces and communities in the country. Likewise, both government and non-government organizations were encouraged to establish treatment and rehabilitation centers for all types of drug dependents. The Department of Social Welfare and Development was deputized as agent of the board to undertake the after-care and follow-up of discharged clients from various centers in the Philippines.

Since 1988 eight GOP agencies (Board of Pardon and Parole, Board of Jail Management and Penology, Dangerous Drug Board, Narcotics Command, Philippines National Police, National Bureau of Investigation, and Parole and Probation Department) have received USG sponsored corrections-based drug treatment training. These agencies are in the process of implementing learned treatment modalities in various adult and juvenile facilities throughout the Philippines.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs.

U.S. Policy Initiatives. The main goals of the U.S. counterdrug policy in the Philippines are to: 1) work with local authorities to prevent the Philippines from being used as a transit point by trafficking organizations; 2) assist Philippine authorities to improve the capabilities of Philippine law enforcement.

Bilateral Cooperation. DEA has worked closely with local bodies—NDLEPCC, PNP, NBI, and customs among others—to reduce the flow of drugs to the U.S. from the Philippines as well as that drug flow that directly affects the Philippines. Planned USG-funded training of Philippine officials will increase both cooperative efforts and local law enforcement capabilities. There has been no INL-funded in-country counterdrug law enforcement training provided to the Philippines since 1995. However, the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok, Thailand, has provided training to approximately 26 GOP drug enforcement personnel since the academy opened in 1999. An INL grant of $51,000 was agreed upon and signed by representatives of both governments in September 2000 to help finance computer equipment for interconnectivity between the NDLEPCC and the PCTC.

The Road Ahead. In 2001, the USG hopes to enhance the training available to GOP counterparts through both DEA and INL-funded programs. Prospective in-country and regional training (at ILEA in Bangkok) will focus on enhancing host country abilities to dismantle criminal organizations affecting the Philippines and the U.S. The USG will also continue to promote law enforcement institution-building, encourage improved internal controls (to stem corruption), and encourage passage of needed laws (e.g. through providing model legislation). The USG will also continue to participate in intelligence exchanges with the Philippine law enforcement community. The goal of these efforts is to help the Philippines combat its internal drug problem and to facilitate cooperation to curb the drug flow to the U.S.


I. Summary

The Government of Singapore (GOS) effectively enforces its stringent antidrug policies through strict laws (including the death penalty), vigorous law enforcement and active prevention programs. Singapore is not a producer of precursor chemicals or narcotics. However, as a major regional financial and transportation center, it is an attractive target for money launderers and drug transshipment. This year Singapore took a step against such money launderers and narcotic traffickers by signing a bilateral Drug Designation Agreement (DDA) with the U.S., which will step up efforts against drug traffickers and bolster already excellent law enforcement cooperation once it goes into effect. Singapore's antinarcotics law enforcement agencies are virtually free of drug-related corruption and regularly attend U.S.-sponsored training programs. Trends indicate that the total number of people arrested on charges of possession, use, or trafficking in drugs in Singapore will drop in 2000 for the sixth straight year. However, the seizure of a new tablet form of methamphetamine, "Yaba," has substantially increased. Singapore is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and earlier international drug conventions.

II. Status of Country

In 2000, there was no known production of narcotics or precursor chemicals. The Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) works with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to closely track the import of small amounts of precursor chemicals for legitimate processing and use. CNB's precursor unit monitors and investigates any diversion of precursors for illicit use. Also, CNB effectively monitors precursor chemicals that are transshipped through Singapore to other regional countries. Singapore utilizes pre-export notification to countries intended to receive precursors transshipped through Singapore.

While heroin and cannabis abuse in Singapore continues to decline, there continues to be an increase in methamphetamine abuse to include "Ice" and "Yaba." "Ice" is a crystal form of methamphetamine that is usually smoked. "Yaba" are methamphetamine tablets that are ingested. There has been a large increase in the amounts of "Yaba" methamphetamine tablets seized so far in 2000. Presently, over 20,000 tablets have been seized, mainly from Thai trafficking organizations operating in Singapore. The "Yaba" originates from Burma and is transited through Thailand and is usually smuggled into the country at the ports of entry (i.e. the airport). Because of the increase in abuse of these forms of methamphetamines, anyone caught with more than 250 grams is subject to the death penalty. Those convicted of having more than 25 grams will face charges of drug trafficking, which carries a minimum of five years imprisonment and five strokes of the cane.

Singapore and the U.S. signed a drug designation agreement in November after three years of negotiations which provides for forfeiture cooperation in narcotics cases. The DDA is the first such agreement Singapore has undertaken with another government and is also the first agreement made under the auspices of Singapore's mutual assistance in criminal matters act that was enacted earlier this year. Singapore is negotiating similar accords with other nations.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2000

Policy Initiatives. Singapore continues to pursue a strategy of demand and supply reduction for drugs. This plan has meant that in addition to arresting drug traffickers, Singapore has also focused on arresting and detaining drug abusers for treatment and rehabilitation. Through the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA), the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) is empowered to commit all drug abusers to drug rehabilitation centers for mandatory treatment and rehabilitation. As a result of this effort, traffickers have seen a reduction in their clientele. This two-prong strategy of reduction has been successful in curbing the drug problem in Singapore.

Singapore is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. As a result of Singapore's accession to the convention, the MDA was amended in 1998 to control the possession, supply, and manufacture of controlled substances. The amendment also provided regulations for the import, export and transshipment of controlled substances. In May 2000, a new amendment to the MDA took effect bringing two anaesthetics under the law's purview. These substances are dihydroetorphine and remifentanil, both known to be over 100 times more potent than morphine. This amendment came about after a decision by the UN Commission of Narcotic Drugs to include both drugs in the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Singapore is also a party to this convention.

Also in conformity with the 1988 UN Drug Convention, Singapore treats narcotics-associated money laundering as a criminal offense. Under the Drug Trafficking Act of 1992, financial institutions must report suspicious transactions and positively identify customers engaging in large currency transactions. Banks maintain adequate records to respond quickly to GOS inquiries in narcotics-related cases. However, there are no routine reporting requirements on amounts of currency that can be brought into or out of Singapore.

On the legislative front, Singapore enacted the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (MACM) bill in February of this year. This bill built upon the Drug Trafficking Act (DTA) of 1993, which provided a mechanism for mutual assistance with other countries in the fight against international drug money laundering. The MACM consolidated the existing mutual assistance provisions of the DTA and provided for more forms of assistance than were previously available under Singapore law and enabled Singapore to sign the Drug Designation Agreement with the U.S. in November.

Accomplishments. Singapore continues to make significant progress in achieving and maintaining all the objectives of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Domestically, the country pursues its plan of rigorous enforcement action to curb the supply and demand in the fight against drugs. On the international front, Singapore works not only with its ASEAN neighbors, but also the U.S. and other countries around the globe. One of the most notable accomplishments is the Drug Designation Agreement that Singapore signed with the U.S. after three years of negotiation. As part of ASEAN, Singapore is pursuing a regional plan called ASEAN-China Cooperative Operations in Response to New Dangerous Drugs (Accord+), which creates measured targets in the fight against drugs in the region. In October, Singapore attended the Bangkok UNDCP/ASEAN Congress to pursue the agreement. Singapore, along with the rest of ASEAN, plans to eliminate all drugs in the region by 2015. Singapore is also committed to the ASEAN goal of establishing coordinated law enforcement operations by 2004 to reduce trafficking of raw materials for drug production. Singapore also works closely with the United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP). For example, Singapore participated in the UN-.sponsored Conference on Precursor Chemicals held in Turkey in October of this year.

Law Enforcement Efforts. The total number of people arrested in 2000 on charges of possession, use, or trafficking in drugs is expected to drop. Arrests have risen for methamphetamines known locally as "Ice" and "Yaba", but arrests for cannabis and heroin are expected to decline. CNB efforts targeting heroin no. 3 abusers and long term imprisonment for hard core opiate addicts are at least partially responsible for the decline in those arrests. The CNB reports that of the 48 major operations it mounted in 1999, 30 of them were against drug syndicates. In 1999, authorities seized nearly 56.7 kilograms of heroin, as well as 98.1 kilograms of opium, 1.3 kilograms of methamphetamine hydrochloride (Ice), 17 kilograms of ecstasy, 1.1 kilograms of ketamine and thousands of dollars worth of assets, including several motor vehicles.

Corruption. Singapore's Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) is charged with the enforcement of Singapore's antidrug laws. The CNB, and other elements of the government, are effective and virtually free of drug-related corruption.

Agreements and Treaties. Singapore is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention on narcotic drugs and its 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Singapore and the U.S. continue to cooperate in extradition matters under the 1931 U.S.-UK extradition treaty. On November 3, 2000, Singapore and the U.S. signed a precedent-setting Drug Designation Agreement (DDA), strengthening existing cooperation between the two countries. In the past, the lack of such a bilateral assistance agreement had been an occasional handicap. The DDA will facilitate the exchange of banking and corporate information on drug money laundering suspects and targets. These will include access to bank records, testimony of witnesses, and service of process. The conclusion of the DDA is expected to result in significant seizures of illegal drug money laundering proceeds in the years ahead. Singapore signed the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime in December, 2000.

Cultivation and Production. There was no known cultivation or production of narcotics in Singapore during the reporting year.

Drug Flow/Transit. Singapore has the busiest (in tonnage) sea port in the world, and about 80 percent of the goods are transshipped. Due to the sheer volume of cargo that transits the port, some of that cargo could contain illicit materials. The government of Singapore (GOS) is aware of the problem and has taken action to stop the transshipment of illicit drugs, though there is room for improvement. GOS officials act effectively when they obtain information on possible transshipment of narcotics through Singapore and share information with DEA officers on a case-by-case basis. Absent specific information about a drug shipment, GOS officials have been reluctant to impose tighter interdiction requirements at the port, out of concern that this would interfere with the free flow of goods and thus jeopardize Singapore's position as the region's primary shipping entrepot. During the year 2000, there were no known transshipments of narcotics through Singapore that reached the U.S.

Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). Singapore uses a combination of punishment and rehabilitation against first time offenders. Many first time offenders are given rehabilitation instead of jail time. The government may detain addicts for rehabilitation for up to three years. At the end of 1998, 5,000 persons were confined in rehabilitation centers. In an effort to curb drug consumption outside of Singapore, CNB officers may now require urinalysis tests for every Singapore citizen and permanent resident returning from outside the country. Those who test positive are treated as if they consumed the illegal drug in Singapore.

Adopting the theme "Prevention: The Best Remedy," Singapore authorities organize sporting events, concerts, plays and other activities to reach out to all segments of Singapore society on drug prevention. Drug treatment centers, halfway houses and job placement programs exist to help addicts successfully readjust to society. At the same time, the GOS has toughened antirecidivist laws. Three-time offenders face long mandatory sentences and caning. Convicted drug traffickers are subject to the death penalty.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. Singapore and the U.S. continue to enjoy excellent law enforcement cooperation. In 2000, approximately 59 GOS law enforcement officials attended training courses at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Bangkok on a variety of transnational crime topics. The DEA conducted a one-week seminar on international asset forfeiture and money laundering in September of 2000, which 41 law enforcement officers from Singapore and Brunei attended.

GOS enforcement officials have worked very closely with DEA officials on a number of cases in 2000. Of particular mention is a case in which close cooperation between the two sides helped bust a major Pakistani heroin organization that was utilizing Singapore as a transshipment point. Through joint efforts, DEA and CNB officials arrested the Pakistani nationals. In addition, DEA and CNB officers worked two joint "Yaba" methamphetamine tablet investigations that resulted in approximately 6,000 tablets seized in Singapore. DEA officers can access Singapore port-net, a computer tracking system run by the port, which can track all ships and containers passing through the port of Singapore.

The GOS has cooperated extensively in drug money laundering cases, including some sharing of recovered assets. The amount of sharing in recovered assets is expected to increase substantially with the signing of the DDA. Singapore law permits foreign governments to seek mutual assistance in drug trafficking cases, including the production of bank records upon entry into force of a mutual legal assistance treaty or a designation agreement such as was signed with the U.S.

The Road Ahead. The U.S. will continue to work closely with the Singapore authorities on all narcotic trafficking and money laundering matters. The recently signed DDA, the culmination of a major U.S. policy initiative for the past three years, will greatly enhance the cooperation between the two governments. The U.S. would also welcome new currency reporting requirement laws and increased transshipment monitoring efforts at the Singapore container port.

South Korea

I. Summary

The Republic of Korea (ROK or South Korea) continued to play a major role in counternarcotics efforts in the year 2000. In June 2000, the ROK hosted the Anti-Drug Liaison Officials Meeting for International Cooperation (ADLOMICO) conference, attended by 122 representatives from 17 different countries. The ROK also played an integral role in the development of several other international antinarcotics conferences and meetings within the region. Regarding enforcement, ROK authorities discovered one methamphetamine laboratory in 2000. The small lab was capable only of finishing the methamphetamine-manufacturing process. Availability of illicit drugs for domestic use, primarily methamphetamine, increased slightly in 2000. Enforcement officials started to see "club drugs" in metropolitan areas. The ROK Supreme Prosecutor's Office, along with the South Korean Customs Service, worked to expand the country's efforts in drug-awareness and demand-reduction programs during 2000.

Transit of precursor chemicals used in the production of heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine increased significantly in 2000. To address the problem, South Korean law-enforcement officials planned advanced chemical-diversion training for their officers.

II. Status of Country

The ROK has a moderate drug problem. The increase in methamphetamine use seen in 1999 continued into 2000, and the availability and use of various "club drugs," such as ecstasy, became apparent. Recent investigations show increased popularity of club drugs, especially among youth. Importation of heroin and cocaine for local consumption remained at 1999 levels. In 2000, authorities seized 379 kilograms of heroin and 1.8 kilograms of cocaine. While the overall number of drug users in South Korea remained small, it increased by slightly more than one percent in 2000. South Korea reported only 10,590 drug arrests for 2000, out of a population of approximately 46 million. The most dramatic development during 2000 was the increasing use of the ROK as a transit country for chemical precursors. Sizable shipments of precursor chemicals transiting South Korea were documented.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2000

Policy Initiatives. The Supreme Prosecutor's Office initiated a Competent National Authorities Point of Contact Roster that includes executive-level narcotics officers from six countries: the ROK, the People's Republic of China (PRC), Japan, Philippines, Thailand, and the United States. The list provides names of representatives in all participating countries who can be contacted for routine or emergency narcotics intelligence or enforcement matters. The Supreme Prosecutor's Office is also developing an international cooperative program through which chemists working in the South Korean methamphetamine signature program can exchange intelligence with their counterparts in other countries in order to prevent the diversion of precursors for illicit use.

Agreements and Treaties. In an ongoing effort to address serious financial and narcotic crimes involving South Korea and China, the ROK and the PRC signed a bilateral extradition treaty on October 18, 2000. The U.S. and the ROK have an extradition treaty, a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, and a Customs Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. The ROK is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances.

Illicit Cultivation and Production. Although methamphetamines have been produced in the ROK, evidence compiled in 2000 suggested that domestic production is not a serious threat. Some marijuana is produced in South Korea, and officials believe a portion of the licitly cultivated hemp grown in the northeast and southwest and used for fabrics and fertilizer is diverted for illegal use. A derivative of marijuana, hashish, is found only in small amounts in the ROK, and officials believe it is imported by West African and Middle Eastern smugglers.

Regional Cooperation. The ROK plays a leading role in regional antinarcotics cooperation. ROK law-enforcement personnel share and develop information with the U.S. and other countries. The Supreme Prosecutor's Office hosts an annual Anti-Drug Liaison Officials Meeting of International Cooperation (ADLOMICO), which is fully funded by the ROK. The 2000 conference, co-chaired by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) liaison office in Seoul, was held in Pusan and attended by 122 representatives from 17 different countries as well as by representatives from DEA headquarters.

In the summer of 2000 South Korean representatives attended the annual meeting to exchange information on current narcotic investigations in Japan. This mutual-assistance program is designed to promote the exchange of intelligence and the sharing of investigative efforts and techniques among the attending nations.

Demand Reduction. The Supreme Prosecutor's Office carries out demand-reduction efforts. Its program emphasizes drug awareness and employs a train-the-trainers methodology. During the summer of 2000, representatives from the Supreme Prosecutor's Office traveled throughout South Korea to instruct teachers on the perils of drug use, drug identification, and how to recognize and counsel students suspected of using drugs. The Pusan District Prosecutor's Office has also initiated a drug awareness program, targeting Pusan and vicinity. This program uses a variety of approaches to curb drug use, including education and treatment.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Cooperative law-enforcement efforts between the U.S. and the ROK continued to increase throughout 2000. The DEA, U.S. Customs Service (USCS), and law-enforcement authorities within U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) continued cooperative enforcement efforts with the ROK Supreme Prosecutor's Office, various district prosecutors' offices, ROK Customs, and the ROK National Police. Given the 37,000 U.S. troops stationed in the ROK, the inclusion and participation of USFK law-enforcement entities has been a welcome addition to local antidrug efforts.

U.S. and ROK authorities also worked together to investigate shipments of the precursor chemicals used in production of various narcotics. In order to enhance these efforts, DEA has arranged for advanced chemical-diversion training for ROK law-enforcement agencies.

Corruption. Although media reports of corruption among public officials in the ROK surface periodically, there is no evidence that public officials were involved in narcotics trafficking in 2000 or that corruption adversely influenced narcotics law enforcement in South Korea.

Drug Flow/Transit. Methamphetamines, cocaine, and heroin continue to transit South Korea en route to other destinations. Small quantities of methamphetamines and raw opium from China transit South Korea bound for the U.S. via Guam, but there is no evidence that drugs entering the U.S from South Korea are in an amount sufficient to have a significant impact on the U.S. Shipments of heroin from Thailand and Pakistan transited South Korea bound for other destinations. Marijuana (approximately 45 kilograms) entered South Korea from South Africa, LSD has come from Canada, and ecstasy has arrived from the United States.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives. The DEA and USCS work closely with South Korean enforcement authorities. They have supported South Korean investigations through training, exchange of information, and mutual assistance. In an effort to target narcotics trafficking through South Korea, the DEA encouraged the establishment of "Operation Airbust" in 1999. The operation is an airport-based narcotics interdiction and detection program, established initially with a 25-person unit at Kimpo Airport. The program has been very successful since its creation. In 2000 "Operation Airbust" was expanded to include the seaport authorities in Pusan, the largest seaport in South Korea. Plans are underway to continue the expansion of "Operation Airbust" at the new international airport in Inchon.

The Road Ahead. Law-enforcement officials from the ROK continue to be strong allies in all antidrug efforts. The ROK will greatly benefit from the chemical-diversion training the DEA is scheduled to provide. Continued fine-tuning of ROK enforcement skills through training would benefit surrounding countries and the U.S. by helping ROK counternarcotics officers slow the amount of drugs and precursor chemicals transiting the ROK.


I. Summary

Taiwan's role as a transit point for drugs destined for the United States has changed dramatically in the past few years. More stringent law-enforcement procedures, together with improved customs inspection and surveillance methods have all but cut off serious flows of heroin from Taiwan to the United States. At the same time, the opening of major container ports in the People's Republic of China (PRC) has diminished Taiwan's importance for the drug trade. Consequently, this year Taiwan was removed from the Majors List of drug-transit countries/economies and was downgraded to a country/economy of concern. Taiwan can not be a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention because it is not a UN member. However, the Taiwan authorities have passed and implemented laws in compliance with the goals and objectives of the Convention. Taiwan's formal law-enforcement cooperation with the U.S. has been limited.

II. Status of Taiwan

Taiwan is not a cultivator or producer of illicit narcotics. However, Taiwan continues to face a serious problem of consumption of heroin and methamphetamines.

As in years past, the PRC is the primary source of drugs smuggled into Taiwan. Approximately 93 percent of the methamphetamines and 53 percent of the heroin, whose origin could be identified, that came into Taiwan originated from the PRC.

Taiwan's role as a transit point for drugs destined for the United States has changed dramatically in the past few years. More stringent law-enforcement procedures, together with improved customs inspection and surveillance methods have all but cut off serious flows of heroin from Taiwan to the United States. At the same time, the opening of major container ports in southern PRC has diminished Taiwan's importance for the drug trade.

III. Actions Against Drugs in 2000

Policy Initiatives. On January 15, 2000, the Legislative Yuan passed five related bills that established the new Coast Guard Administration, directly under the supervision of the Executive Yuan. In the past, poor coordination and overlapping responsibilities among several agencies hampered Taiwan's anti-smuggling capabilities. The new consolidated Coast Guard Administration is now the lead agency directly responsible for detecting and interdicting contraband entering Taiwan via maritime vessels. It will also have the flexibility to follow-up on investigations that it initiates. In order to upgrade its inspection ability, the Ministry of Finance has allocated a budget for the purchase of new x-ray equipment that can be used to scan cargo containers and for the training of drug-sniffing dogs.

Nevertheless, Taiwan's ability to combat smuggling (primarily of agricultural goods) from the PRC will be limited by the PRC's refusal to cooperate on law-enforcement issues. The Taiwan authorities have announced their willingness to open direct trade and shipping links with the PRC after both have entered the World Trade Organization (likely sometime in 2001). If that transpires, direct trade and shipping links should reduce the incentives for the smuggling of agricultural goods. However, they will have to overcome a variety of technical and political obstacles.

On January 14, 2000 the Legislative Yuan passed the Witness Protection Law, which specifies ways to protect witnesses and encourage them to testify and assist law-enforcement agencies in the investigation of major crimes, such as drug trafficking. The law also provides for reduced sentences for criminals who are willing to testify against drug traffickers and other criminals. On March 15, the authorities promulgated the enforcement rules for the Telecommunications Protection and Monitoring Law, which provides a legal basis for law-enforcement authorities to monitor telephone calls while collecting evidence related to drug trafficking. On November 20, the Ministry of Justice sent a proposed revision of the Hazardous Narcotics Prevention Act to the Executive Yuan for review. The Act encourages treatment for first-time drug users, but there have been some disputes about the application of the law in dealing with different kinds of drug users. Proposed revisions to the Act would simplify the procedures for compulsory rehabilitation and rehabilitation under observation and would also delete a provision that allows drug users to suspend treatment three months after they begin the program.

Accomplishments. By the end of September 2000, the Taiwan authorities seized 90.81 kilograms of heroin and 621.15 kilograms of methamphetamines, representing a moderate decrease of the former and a sharp drop of the latter over amounts seized in 1999. However, methamphetamine seizures have fluctuated significantly over the last five years, from a low of 886 kilograms in 1998 to a high of 2,556 kilograms in 1997. Narcotics-related convictions through the first ten months of 2000 totaled 8,714, well ahead of the 5,925 convictions in calendar year 1999. Nevertheless, conviction totals have not returned to the levels seen before the Hazardous Narcotics Prevention Act came into force in May 1998.

Law Enforcement Efforts. The Ministry of Justice plays the main role in formulating counternarcotics policies and legislation. The Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB) and the National Police Administration's Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) are Taiwan's lead counternarcotics agencies. Counternarcotics law enforcement is a priority on Taiwan, and the relevant agencies have the necessary resources to fulfill their missions.

Through the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), Taiwan has cooperated closely with U.S. law-enforcement agencies. In particular, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has noted the excellent cooperation it enjoys with CIB and CIB's willingness to have its case officers work together with DEA, thus fostering a "task force" atmosphere. The arrangement has proved conducive to a freer exchange of ideas and more comprehensive investigations. For example, on May 2, 2000, the DEA Hong Kong Country Office and CIB initiated a joint enforcement program targeting West African drug traffickers residing in Taipei. The operation resulted in the seizure of 2.2 kilograms of heroin and the arrest of six defendants in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Thailand.

Corruption. There have been no reported cases of official involvement in narcotics trafficking on Taiwan. The new administration has made fighting corruption in the political system (generally referred to as "black gold") one of its highest priorities.

Asset Forfeiture. Taiwan has established a system to identify, trace, freeze, and seize narcotics-related assets. Taiwan's asset-forfeiture laws do not have provisions permitting the sharing of forfeited assets with authorities from the U.S. or other countries. Assets of drug traffickers, including instruments of crime (such as conveyances and farms), and intangible property (such as bank accounts), can be and have been seized under the provisions of the Money Laundering Control Act and the Hazardous Narcotics Prevention Act. Legitimate businesses used to launder money can be seized. Proceeds from narcotics-related asset seizures and forfeitures not used as compensation for injured parties go to Taiwan's Treasury. Taiwan's law does not permit civil forfeiture. The Money Laundering Prevention Center (MLPC) and the National Police Administration's Criminal Investigation Bureau can trace assets, but only prosecutors have the power to seize assets. In 2000, the MLPC was involved in cases leading to the seizure of New Taiwan Dollars (NTD) 722.23 million (U.S. $22 million) and confiscation of NTD 43.56 million (U.S. $1.3 million).

Agreements and Treaties. In 1992, AIT and its Taiwan counterpart, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO), signed a Memorandum of Understanding on counternarcotics cooperation in criminal prosecutions. Taiwan is not now party to any other formal bilateral counternarcotics agreements and can not be a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention because it is not a UN member. The Taiwan authorities are committed to the goals and objectives of the Convention, however, and have enacted legislation to bring Taiwan's counternarcotics laws into conformity with its provisions. In 2000 AIT and TECRO completed negotiations on a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement, which they signed in early 2001.

Taiwan law-enforcement officials work closely with their counterparts in the region and share information despite the lack of formal agreements. Taiwan has also provided training for drug-enforcement personnel in other countries, including Panama, Malawi, and several Gulf States.

Cultivation/Production. Taiwan is not a producer of illicit narcotics.

Drug Flow/Transit. In 2000 the PRC was the principal source for both heroin and methamphetamines, while a small percentage of heroin seized originated from Thailand and Hong Kong. Fishing boats and cargo containers are the primary means of smuggling both types of drugs onto Taiwan from the PRC. For instance, on October 26 one suspect was arrested attempting to smuggle 8.9 kilograms of heroin and 2.6 kilograms of amphetamines onto Taiwan using a fishing boat. On January 1 two suspects were arrested for smuggling 65 kilograms of amphetamines from the PRC onto Taiwan via a cargo container. The Taiwan authorities have noted an increase in the use of drug couriers over the last year. Taiwan arrested a Singapore national who carried 3.3 kilograms of heroin onto Taiwan.

A large heroin seizure ascribed to North Korea significantly skewed heroin seizure data for 2000. On December 28, 2000, Taiwan investigators took a 42-year-old Taiwan resident into custody at his home in Taipei, where they seized 130 kilograms of heroin packed in bricks. Taiwan authorities are quoted in press articles as stating that based on their investigation and interrogation of the suspect, the heroin was produced in and trafficked from North Korea. This single seizure was as large as the cumulative opiate seizures on Taiwan for the entire year.

Domestic Programs. The Health Department set up the Bureau of Controlled Drugs in 1999 to take charge of the management of narcotics for medical treatment and scientific research purposes. The Bureau is planning to set up a comprehensive system that would allow the issuance of licenses to legal users and monitor the import, export, manufacturing, and whereabouts of controlled drugs. The system will also facilitate the establishment of a nationwide drug-abuse-monitoring network to strengthen research in this field. The Ministry of Justice is also working with other government departments and non-governmental organizations to establish a drug-abuse data bank.

Taiwan uses a media campaign as well as extensive educational programs in schools to discourage drug use. These programs also work in conjunction with the private sector to offer guidance to juveniles to resist taking drugs. Nevertheless, drug abuse remains an issue on Taiwan. Methamphetamines and heroin are still the most popular drugs. There are indications that ecstasy is also becoming a problem.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives. Taiwan was removed from the Majors List this year due to its diminishing role as a drug transit point for narcotics being sent to the U.S. The main U.S. counternarcotics policy goal on Taiwan is to encourage the authorities to maintain and improve their fight against drugs so that Taiwan does not become again a major transshipment point for U.S.-bound narcotics.

The Road Ahead. In February 2001 DEA plans to conduct a training seminar on Taiwan for CIB and MJIB covering controlled deliveries, surveillance, informant handling, strategic intelligence, and DEA's drug signature program. DEA would also like to see MJIB improve its information sharing, particularly with regard to intelligence acquired from its own investigations. In addition, AIT and DEA will encourage Taiwan to participate in the DEA's drug signature program and discuss possible regulatory changes regarding Taiwan's ability to conduct international controlled deliveries.


I. Summary

Throughout 2000, Thailand continued its long tradition of cooperation with the United States and the international community in antidrug programs. Thailand added to its leadership role in transnational crime issues by co-managing the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) with the U.S. in Bangkok. The U.S.-Thailand extradition relationship continues to be highly successful, and Thailand continues to extradite its nationals under the treaty. Indeed, Thailand is one of the top countries in the world in cooperating with the U.S. on extradition requests. Extensive cooperative law enforcement programs continued to bear fruit. According to Royal Thai Government (RTG) figures, 290 kilograms of heroin were seized and 9 methamphetamine labs destroyed during the first ten months of 2000.

Thailand has one of the most effective illicit narcotic crop control programs in the world. USG analysts estimate that Thailand's opium production in the 2000 growing season remained at a maximum six metric tons. Cultivation remained under 1,000 hectares for the second year in a row, although there was a slight increase to 890 hectares. Continuing trends established in previous years, opium farmers are cultivating smaller, more isolated fields and engaging in multiple cropping to avoid eradication. Seizures and court actions under the asset seizure law continued. With U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) support, the Royal Thai Police (RTP) established the fourth in a series of specially trained narcotics law enforcement units to target major trafficking groups. Thai programs aimed at treatment, epidemiology of substance abuse, and demand reduction remained active; nevertheless, the epidemic of methamphetamine abuse grew, especially among the young, underscoring the need for cost effective community based models of addiction treatment and additional abuse-prevention training for both public and private sector health professionals.

The Thai Cabinet approved accession to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and final arrangements are being undertaken by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Thailand signed the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime in December, 2000. {I noticed that there is no agreements and treaties section in here—rather than adding a new section at this stage, I would suggest just adding this sentence.}

II. Status of Country

Thailand is no longer a major source of opiates for the international market. Its opium poppy crop accounts for less than 1 percent of the regional production of opiates. Supplies from Burma are necessary to satisfy Thailand's own domestic demand for illicit opiates. The growing use in Thailand of amphetamine type stimulants (ATS) is a serious concern, as traditional opiate traffickers in Thailand, Laos, and Burma are now either producing and/or trafficking both opiates and ATS.

Traffickers have diversified drug smuggling operations to include direct maritime transshipment from Burma to major regional container ports. The UN International Drug Control Program (UNDCP) estimates that 60 percent of Burma's opiate production enters China. Nevertheless, good roads in Northern Thailand link refineries in Burma with the remainder of Thailand's transport system. Thailand's advanced road network continues to be a conduit for commodities and materials needed by trafficking groups in neighboring areas. Thailand's position as a regional transportation hub remains a factor in narcotics trafficking. Indeed, having a well-developed infrastructure and serving as a regional hub have made Thailand a popular transit zone for not only Southeast Asian heroin and methamphetamine, but Southwest Asian heroin, too. More and more, trafficking organizations are finding it lucrative to send couriers from Thailand to Pakistan to purchase heroin at a fraction of the cost of SE Asian heroin. Even after paying the couriers' expenses, the trafficking groups greatly increase their profit margin, and are easily able to insert their illicit product into international transit routes. Often they re-package the SW Asian heroin into smaller quantities and conceal it in a variety of methods for smuggling via the international mails or express mail shipments. Much of it, though, leaves Thailand from the regional airline hubs. Moreover, Thailand's increasing role as an important center for maritime shipping is also attractive to trafficking organizations that want to move large quantities of heroin by ocean-going vessels. There are numerous ports in Thailand that are dedicated to containerized cargo, and it is impossible to scrutinize each and every container that departs the country.

Thailand still produces marijuana in its Northeast region, although quantities have been reduced due to law enforcement suppression activity in recent years, as well as by competition from growers in Cambodia who benefit from lower production costs and a less challenging law enforcement environment. There also continue to be reports of marijuana cultivation in Thailand's northern and southern regions. The Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) estimates that Thailand produced 107.28 MT of marijuana in 1999.

Some small percentage of Thailand's ATS consumption is produced domestically. Most ATS, however, still comes from outside Thailand. RTG sources have estimated that as many as 600 million methamphetamine pills will be smuggled into Thailand during calendar year 2000 from neighboring countries, though virtually all of it originates in Burma. Traditional trafficking organizations are now more comfortable with the concept of increasing methamphetamine production as they face heightened competition from SW Asia for their traditional heroin product. In Thailand, the ATS problem initially started with laborers working long hours but expanded to youth looking for good times and peer acceptance. Soon, a growing number graduated from occasional use to dependency. Concurrently, ATS use expanded across social and economic barriers as the prices became more affordable and the supply more accessible. Now, ATS is the most commonly abused drug in Thailand. The acuteness of the threat has, for some time, been recognized in official government circles, but now social awareness of the extent of the problem is growing. The Royal Thai Government has declared it the number one security and social threat. From January through August 2000, the RTG seized 4,752 kilograms of methamphetamine and arrested 105,827 persons involved in 97,633 ATS-related cases. The number of drug-related indictments went from 56,954 in 1988 to 186,232 in 1998, and to 176,378 in 1999, and the percentage of methamphetamine indictments rose from 1.8 to 67.3 percent from 1988 to 1998.

While methamphetamine is the major drug problem facing Thailand, the abuse of the designer drug ecstasy grew during 2000. As the year progressed, there were noticeable increases in seizures. In 1998, the Thai government reported only 99 ecstasy-related cases and seized only 4,520 tablets. In 1999, ecstasy cases rose to 175 with nearly 22,000 pills seized. In the first eight months of 2000, over 25,000 ecstasy tablets were seized involving only two cases. Virtually all of the ecstasy seized in Thailand appears to come from Europe, specifically the Netherlands with some shipments also originating in Belgium. According to RTG officials, most of the ecstasy is being imported by the same organizations that are sending heroin to Europe.

As a result of the increase of methamphetamine availability in the country, Thailand has experienced a surge in polydrug use among traditional heroin users such as the hill tribes in the north and fishermen in the south. A study of the drug abuse situation in Thailand published in 1995 by the Thai Development and Research Institute (TDRI) contributed a baseline estimate for drug abuse in Thailand of 1.27 million persons, which includes those abusing ATS, inhalants, heroin, opium, and marijuana. By 2000, the baseline number had increased significantly as the RTG estimated there were two million drug abusers throughout the country.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2000

Policy Initiatives. The U.S. and Thailand signed a case-specific Asset Sharing Agreement transferring $19,144 seized from an international heroin trafficking organization to AMLO. As a result of the RTG efforts to investigate the ringleader and its provision of evidence to DEA/Bangkok regarding his drug trafficking activities, the U.S. Government was able to mount a successful prosecution and seize illegal drug proceeds. It was the first such Asset Sharing Agreement ever reached with Thailand.

Thailand controls precursor chemicals as required by the 1988 UN Drug Convention. In addition, Thailand and its neighbor Laos have agreed to cooperate in controlling precursor chemicals. Internally, the Royal Thai Government has become more sensitive to the problem created by diversion of precursor and essential chemicals, and has stepped up its monitoring and investigation of suspect chemical companies. In Northern Thailand, one Royal Thai Police unit is committed to coordinating with U.S. law enforcement to identify and seize illegal chemical diversions. Additionally, the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) has established a new Chemical Diversion Unit in Bangkok responsible for all chemical diversion investigations occurring anywhere within the country. The unit will expand and enhance the overall capability of Thai law enforcement to effect arrests and/or seizures associated with chemical diversions.

In early 2000, the RTG Food and Drug Administration, the Royal Thai Police, Royal Thai Customs, and the Communications Authority of Thailand, in cooperation with U.S. Customs, raided on-line pharmacies based in Thailand and shut down websites selling drugs smuggled into the U.S. Thai officials arrested 22 perpetrators, and seized 20 computers, 2.5 million doses of drug products, and over two million Thai baht.

In late 1998, the RTG co-founded the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok with the U.S. ILEA has trained over 1,241 law enforcement and judicial officials from nine Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, the Peoples Republic of China, and the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions of China. In 2000, Cambodian law enforcement officials were added to the list of invitees to participate in ILEA's mid-level training courses. While the U.S. provides most of the funding and training expertise, the spirit of openness and hospitality, which has much to do with establishing a regional cooperative anticrime network, is uniquely Thai. The joint Thai/U.S. staff has created a quality educational institution with which all participating countries genuinely identify. Other countries such as Australia, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom have provided course instructors or expressed interest in future cooperation.

The six countries to have signed the UN Drug Control Program (UNDCP) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Sub-regional Narcotics Cooperation countries include Burma, Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. Thailand actively participates in activities under the UNDCP-sponsored MOU. Thailand is also a member of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) and is the designated law enforcement coordinator for ASEAN's Senior Officials on Drugs (ASOD) group. In October, Thailand co-hosted a UNDCP conference which reached an accord on increased antidrug cooperation among the six UN MOU countries and all of the other member nations of ASEAN, and invited participation by Europe and the U.S. During the third annual Thai-Lao meeting on narcotics law enforcement, officials exchanged information on suspected drug traffickers and production sites in their respective areas and agreed to open two additional coordinating points along the border to curb drug smuggling. The points will be set up in Thailand's Loei and Ubon provinces opposite Xaignabouri and Champasak provinces in Laos. These sites will be added to existing sectors set up two years ago between Chiang Rai-Bokeo, Nong Khai-Vientiane, and Mukdahan-Savannakhet.

Thailand has been extremely cooperative with the U.S. under the bilateral extradition treaty and is one of the top countries in the world in cooperating with the U.S. on extradition requests. The Foreign Ministry, the Judiciary, the Royal Thai Police, and the Office of the Attorney General have developed expedited extradition mechanisms and have worked closely with U.S. Justice Department officials and courts to facilitate extraditions.

Despite the requirement for budgetary austerity in the aftermath of the regional economic crisis, Thailand maintains support for programs to combat the production and trafficking of illicit drugs and other transnational crimes. National and local level action against drugs has been improved by Prime Ministerial Order 141 issued on August 19, 1998. The order provided a needed coordination framework and facilitated collaboration among all government agencies as well as interested parts of civil society, such as NGO's, professional organizations, and religious groups. It made clear that Thailand's drug problem was the responsibility of all concerned government agencies (36 agencies from 11 Ministries) and not just the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) and the Police Narcotics Suppression Bureau (PNSB).

The RTG also established new education, treatment and demand reduction programs. Among the most recent initiatives is a nationwide network of regional drug monitoring and rehabilitation centers. The government hopes to have local antidrug organizations in more than half of the nation's 70,000 communities by the end of 2001, with centers in 60 to 70 percent of the Thai communities by the close of 2002.

Thai officials also provide a supportive environment for coordination and cooperation among the foreign antinarcotics community (FANC) which is composed of 51 foreign law enforcement members of 21 agencies attached to 19 Bangkok embassies. This professional organization works closely with the Thai counter narcotics community to identify common problems and seek solutions that promote better regional and international cooperation on drug trafficking issues. Together, Thai antidrug officials and FANC have fostered a sense of collective responsibility and shared expertise that contribute immensely to the identification of major traffickers and the resolution of operational differences.

Law Enforcement Efforts. The Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), the Police Narcotics Suppression Bureau (PNSB) and the Royal Thai Army Third Region Command (RTA III) covering North Thailand, are primarily responsible for the implementation of national level drug enforcement programs. These agencies coordinate with local police and enforcement bodies such as the Border Patrol Police (BPP), Provincial Police and the Royal Thai Customs Service on narcotics cases.

Extensive law enforcement cooperation with U.S. authorities continues. Since 1996, the United States has helped the Thai counternarcotics authorities establish three separate centers that focus on collecting drug-related intelligence that help direct investigations and enforcement activities in their respective regions.

Besides these centers, DEA has established four specially selected, trained, and equipped units that are used to target specific trafficking threats faced by Thailand, its neighbors and the U.S. The latest of these four special units became operational in 2000, and was formed to counter the threat from maritime heroin smuggling. The U.S. has continued to support these and numerous other RTG counterdrug initiatives through provision of operational assistance, commodities, and training provided by DEA and the Department of Defense, with the support from the Department of State.

In January 2000, the Royal Thai Police, in conjunction with DEA officials, seized 122 kilograms of heroin in Bangkok. Subsequent information obtained from the seizure revealed that a substantial part of this shipment had a final destination within North America. Moreover, cooperative investigations between the Thai counternarcotics officials and DEA have uncovered Thai and Sino-Thai organizations that transport multiple-kilogram quantities of heroin from Thailand to Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. Also in 2000, the Thai assisted the DEA in dismantling three West African organizations that shipped multiple kilogram quantities of heroin to Chicago for distribution by street gangs.

Asset Forfeiture. AMLA authorizes the forfeiture of criminal proceeds through a civil forfeiture process. To date, AMLO has seized assets in three cases and reported them to the Transaction Committee for the initiation of proceedings under this new civil forfeiture process. All three cases involve the predicate offense of drug trafficking. One case involves approximately 15 million Baht: a bank account totaling 9.2 million Baht, and 10 plots of land and a western style house (worth approximately 6 million Baht). A second case involves a cash seizure in the amount of 830,000 Baht. The third case involves cash in the amount of 2.89 million Bath, 1 light pick-up truck, and 200,000 Baht in bail money used by the suspect. In addition to civil forfeiture of these assets, AMLO has recommended that the individuals in these cases be prosecuted for money laundering. In addition, AMLO is in contact with the U.S. and European partners to assist with the seizure of Thai assets and several international traffickers.

Additional seizures and forfeitures have been made under Thailand's 1991 forfeiture law, which is criminal based and limited to narcotics cases. These cases come under the administration of the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB). The first successful case was completed in 1995 and to date 1,1003 cases have been brought under this law involving approximately $22 million in assets.

Forfeiture has not been efficiently used in the past due to a number of difficulties in prosecuting criminal cases: no plea bargaining, no co-conspirator testimony, property must be maintained until completion of trials (which may take years), corruption, and poor property management and disposition capabilities. Hopefully some of these impediments will be overcome through the use of a civil forfeiture process.

Corruption. The Royal Thai Government does not condone the cultivation, production, trafficking, or financing of illicit narcotics. Moreover, the Police Narcotics Suppression Bureau and the Office of the Narcotics Control Board continue to exhibit a high degree of professionalism and honesty derived in part from long standing relationships and institution-building programs with international drug control organizations, including those from the United States.

Despite the good track record within the counternarcotics community, many RTG elements are still rampantly corrupt. The year 2000 saw a broad and blunt public discussion of the corrosive effect of corruption on Thai society. For example, a June 4 article in the Bangkok Post newspaper headlined by "MR BIGS REMAIN UNTOUCHABLE" opened with, "illegal lotteries, brothels, gambling and methamphetamine dealers in Thailand rake in 200-400 billion baht annually, but cannot easily be stopped because rich and powerful figures are involved...". Just as the legitimate economy has been negatively impacted by cronyism and corruption, the criminal economy is also protected by complex and mutually lucrative associations. Recent reports of massive drug-money dumping to facilitate "campaigning" in the upcoming parliamentary elections indicate one vehicle of protection for, and influence of, drug traffickers in the Thai polity. Thai law enforcement officials themselves express frustration with corruption and its variant, political or family influence at high levels, which negatively impact their ability to prosecute those caught in criminal acts. For example, in discussing trafficking trends in central Thailand, the 1998-99 ONCB narcotics annual report notes that, "the sophisticated and expanding trafficking network in this region consisted of the conspiracy of power groups and some governmental authorities." Political interference in, or outright sale of, promotions and positions often becomes known throughout law enforcement, raising the level of cynicism and providing excuses for weaker elements to abuse their office and accept money or other favors.

Narcotics trafficking poses special problems in countering corruption because of the fantastic profits generated and the resultant availability of cash for either facilitating payoffs or completely co-opting law enforcement personnel. The surge in methamphetamine abuse and trafficking adds greatly to the potential for corruption. Although the law applies to all, RTG efforts to counternarcotics-related corruption have so far focused on junior level officials. On the other hand, American law enforcement officials have noted that security of complex operations against major traffickers intended for extradition has been maintained. This indicates an awareness of the problem as well as knowledge of those police officers and other governmental officials who can or cannot be trusted with sensitive information.

Declarations of assets, already compulsory for cabinet ministers, are required for over 900 senior state officials. They must also report the assets and liabilities of their spouses and underage children. Hopefully, as the political system matures, common corrupt practices, often related to voter fraud and vote buying which perpetuate the hold of some notorious politicians, will be reduced. In 2000, the Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Interior and Secretary General of the ruling political party was banned from political activity for five years for failing to declare all his assets.

Cultivation/Production. Poppy cultivation in Thailand principally occurs in northern border areas. Opium has a long history in the region, and the use of the crop as a medicine and source of cash for certain hill tribe communities has been a fact of social and economic life. The government's control efforts have combined eradication of the crop with development, improved infrastructure, and economic support designed to offer growers alternatives to narcotics production. The crop substitution/development program began in 1969 and from the very beginning concentrated on providing alternative medical care and cash crops to substitute for the medicinal and economic benefits of opium. Only after fifteen years of development assistance, when the hill tribe communities could actually support themselves without opium, did the RTG begin to forcefully eradicate opium crops.

Thailand has one of the most effective narcotics crop control programs in the world, and its eradication campaign is one of the main reasons heroin refineries no longer operate in Thailand. Alternative crop programs, combined with effective law enforcement, have reduced opium cultivation in Thailand to a point where opium must now be imported to meet the needs of domestic addicts. Last year, counterdrug programs kept the level of poppy cultivation at the second lowest level since crop estimates began in the mid- 1980's. Thai eradication forces successfully destroyed 758 hectares of the gross 1,648 hectares cultivated in 2000 which resulted in potential opium production of 6 metric tons. Average opium yield was estimated for 2000 at 11.25 kilograms per hectare.

The Thai government estimates that 10 percent of Thai poppy growers use opium, and many sell their higher quality product for cash and consume cheaper drugs from Burma. Since brokers and middlemen play a strong role in the production equation and motivate hill tribe growers to plant a crop, even at the risk of its destruction by the RTG eradication campaign. Out-of-season poppy plantations and multiple cropping require exceedingly more effort and capital to cultivate; and reflect the significant adjustments traditional growers have made to counter eradication efforts. A mark of the growers' sophistication is the practice of interspersing the poppy plants with vegetables. The stubbornness and greed of Thailand's residual growers and their ability to increase cultivation in some geographically difficult to control areas, argues for continued active efforts in opium control.

Opened in 1994, Chiang Mai University's highland agricultural training center is an important initiative in crop control. Supported by the U.S. and other donors, this center provides hands-on training and experience to farmers in alternative crop techniques and provides a site for training farmers from regional countries.

ONCB coordinates the annual opium crop survey with the assistance of RTA III and the RTP. The RTG survey and analysis methodology is unmatched in the region. Both ground and aerial surveys are used. Information from a computerized geographic information system is combined with other survey and statistical data to measure opium cultivation trends and shared with eradication campaign operating units. ONCB executes its survey before, during and after the traditional opium cultivation cycle to cover early and late season crops. The ONCB survey chief serves as a UNDCP consultant in applying Thailand's appropriate technology to other developing countries with illicit crop problems.

Drug Flow/Transit. Methamphetamine and opiates enter Thailand for consumption and also for onward shipment to world markets, making Thailand both a consuming and a transit country. Since drug trafficking is an intrinsically illegal and covert activity, neither Thailand nor its regional law enforcement colleagues have a clear and complete idea of trafficking patterns. Nevertheless, it is clear from recent heroin seizures, such as the January 2000 seizure of 122 kilograms, that a significant amount of heroin still transits Thailand on its way to the U.S. It is also true that increased counter narcotics capabilities in Thailand have forced major trafficking organizations to look for alternative routes to market. Over the past several years, there has been a steady increase in the use of smuggling routes through Southern China, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. Indeed, UNDCP estimates that 60 percent of Burma- produced heroin enters China.

Demand Reduction and Treatment Programs. ONCB coordinates prevention and demand reduction programs, with participation of NGO's through the Thai national-level NGO-ANCC (Anti-Narcotics Coordinating Committee). In 2000, ONCB coordinated the establishment of a permanent substance abuse epidemiological network to provide timely data about use patterns and motivations among affected sub-populations, in order to design effective prevention strategies. The Ministries of Health and Education have programs in place to expand treatment and implement demand reduction in schools and in provincial areas as well as to target specific high-risk groups including students and laborers such as fishermen and long-haul truck drivers. School programs receive the greatest emphasis since a 1997 epidemiological study showed that more than 50 percent of the total 110,000 drug users in Thailand were youth. In late 1998, ONCB and other agencies organized a training course on drug counseling techniques for school teachers in 34 provinces. ONCB also organized a "Friends For Friends Group" training program to prepare student leaders to conduct school-based drug prevention activities. The project will expand to cover 379 Bangkok area schools. Youth groups also participated in the "Life Skills Education For Prevention Of Drugs Project" designed to foster communication, and coping and problem solving skills in school drug prevention. The Bangkok DEA office has helped the Royal Thai Police establish the "Drug Abuse Resistance Education" (DARE) program in Thailand.

Thailand is very active in the international network of public/private sector drug prevention organizations. The network mobilizes public opinion against the drug trade and advocates nations to institute strong counterdrug policies and programs. The international network consists of national and regional drug prevention organizations. Thailand (ONCB and NGO-ANCC) hosted the second annual prevention summit in November 1999 which resulted in a Global Standing Committee (GSC) to manage the comprehensive network of 5,000 organizations in 44 countries worldwide. Retired Thai Police General and former ONCB Secretary General Chavalit Yodmani was unanimously elected as the GSC Chair. He has set up the GSC Secretariat in the office of the Asia Pacific NGO Committee on Drug and Substance Abuse Prevention (ASPAC) in Bangkok.

In November, the Ministry of Public Health (MPH) and the U.S. National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) co-sponsored a regional conference on ATS addiction and related medical research issues. The conference established a network of information sharing useful to all parties, including U.S. drug experts, who fear an outbreak of ATS in American youth similar to what has occurred in Asia.

Thailand and the U.S. are also collaborating on the creation of the first international Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC). To be established in 2001, the Thai ATTC will serve the entire Asian region. The U.S. has 16 ATTC's.

The Ministry of Public Health (MPH) Department Of Medical Services currently has registered 516 drug treatment centers in both government and private hospitals. Most are attached to MPH-run provincial and community hospitals. There are 1,670 beds available. A longer term program within the Health Ministry aims to increase the number of treatment facilities and spaces in therapeutic communities. The MPH is developing a curriculum of substance abuse treatment in collaboration with UCLA's Matrix program to support Thai outpatient drug treatment programs. Narcotics Anonymous (NA) has established itself in Thailand.

Despite the interest in improving treatment and rehabilitation, Thailand's current drug treatment systems were originally developed in response to opium and heroin addiction and need to upgrade their continuum-of-care services for ATS users. There is an urgent need to upgrade addiction training and treatment services to deal with the current methamphetamine epidemic. Fortunately, effective treatment models exist and the Ministry Of Public Health already has detailed plans for community prevention and outreach through its facilities located throughout the country. Alcoholism remains a hidden problem and thus goes largely untreated. The potential benefits from developing a nationwide capacity to provide effective chemical dependency treatment would go far beyond dealing with the current ATS epidemic. The potential savings from effectively reducing the costs of untreated alcoholism would be great enough to justify investment in addiction training and treatment programs.

MPH and private Thai addiction professionals are currently involved in a series of exchanges with U.S. counterparts to provide state-of-the-art ATS treatment models based on the Matrix Program developed at the UCLA School of Psychiatry. Eight treatment centers have been established throughout the country. The program will continually expand to other institutions as health providers receive training.

Thailand has been very active in the development of corrections-based drug treatment programs in collaboration with the NGO Daytop International. To date, the Thai Department of Corrections has implemented therapeutic community treatment programs in juvenile corrections and intake centers throughout Thailand.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives. Based on guidelines in the national strategy, U.S. goals and objectives in Thailand remain:

  • To reduce the amount of illicit drugs available in the United States by assisting Thailand to counter the threat of drug trafficking. Support actions targeting drug traffickers and their organizations;

  • Assist with programs to implement the newly enacted money laundering legislation, and with developing other legal and enforcement tools, such as a strengthened conspiracy law, and witness protection and plea bargaining programs;

  • Through continued cooperative investigations, indict traffickers and cooperate in extraditions to the United States. Work toward broadening allowable evidence rules in the Thai legal system to enable more prosecutions and convictions of high-level traffickers in Thailand;

  • Continue initiatives to reduce and eliminate opium poppy cultivation through eradication and development of viable economic alternatives for farmers;

  • Assist Thailand in its efforts to maintain and expand its drug abuse awareness, demand reduction, and treatment activities;

  • Continue to develop the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) to improve regional law enforcement skills and coordination on transnational crime issues.

Bilateral Cooperation. Thailand and the United States have long been partners in counternarcotics criminal investigations. In addition to the mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) and the extradition treaty referred to elsewhere in this report, four State Department funded bilateral narcotics assistance project agreements continue in force:

Narcotics Law Enforcement. This project is designed to enhance the ability of narcotics law enforcement agencies to meet the threat posed by sophisticated trafficking organizations. This agreement provides commodity and training support for ONCB, PNSB and other Thai law enforcement organizations, and supports efforts aimed at strengthening criminal-justice system institutions and fostering judicial cooperation. ONCB and other RTG agencies are exploring improvements to legal legislation and cooperated fully with a four person U.S. Department of Justice team which visited Thailand in July to assess the Thai criminal justice system and its capacity to address changing drug crime problems;

Narcotics Crop Control. Funding is provided to RTA III, ONCB, BPP, and provincial police (PP) to assist the Royal Thai government in surveying, locating, and eradicating the illicit opium poppy crop in northern Thailand. In addition, U.S. funding supports outreach and development initiatives through the Royal Project, RTA III, and Chiang Mai University. The cooperating network involved in the crop control effort also provides law enforcement benefit in the struggle against ATS;

Demand Reduction. The USG assists Thai authorities to improve and expand demand reduction programs and to support increased private sector and NGO involvement in national drug abuse awareness efforts;

Regional Initiatives. The USG supports the RTG leadership role in working with regional states on narcotics control issues. This project includes the International Law Enforcement Academy in Bangkok (ILEA).

Cooperation between the U.S. and Thailand in a number of areas not specifically covered by formal agreements also has a long history. DEA works closely with Thai drug agencies in investigating major heroin trafficking organizations and with training to develop Thai drug enforcement capabilities. The U.S. Customs Service and Department of Defense (DOD) have cooperated with various agencies on anti-smuggling projects. DOD also provides specialized training for Border Patrol Police and Royal Thai Police Narcotics Suppression Bureau units, and assisted in the establishment of the three regional, counter narcotics intelligence centers.

The Embassy Public Affairs Section (PA), formerly the United States Information Service (USIS), arranges visitor programs for consultations on drug control issues and is currently managing the Professionals in Residence Program on Judicial Affairs in Bangkok. PA also organizes video conferences allowing experts in the U.S. and Thailand to consult on narcotics, judicial, and law enforcement issues.

The Road Ahead. Thailand will strengthen its role as a regional leader in drug control and in combating transnational crime. The Kingdom will also cooperate fully with the international community in this regard. In addition to Thailand's new money laundering law, other useful legislation addressing the issues of plea bargaining, co-conspirator testimony, a witness protection program, and the broadening of evidence rules, will receive policy level approval to be written into law. It is already well understood in the Thai legal community that these types of legislation could deprive traffickers of the profits of trafficking, as well as facilitate prosecution of major traffickers.

Newer areas of concern needing attention are Northeastern Thailand, the East, the South, and all maritime areas. Northeast and East Thailand border Laos and/or Cambodia. Thailand must suppress trafficking in these areas if it and its two neighbors are to avoid a southern version of the Golden Triangle, not marked by opiate production but by narcotics trafficking and other lawlessness. The Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea are currently weak in law enforcement. Criminal activity includes narcotics trafficking, general smuggling to avoid taxes, smuggling of illegal aliens, and illegal trade in natural resources. USG funding alone cannot eliminate these problems but the relatively modest USG contribution permits the RTG to quickly address problem areas. Of special note are the ongoing U.S. consultations to assist the Royal Thai Army in its counterdrug interdiction mission along Thailand's borders. The RTG seeks to enhance cooperation and coordination between the military and law enforcement agencies, especially the Border Patrol Police, to enhance RTG effectiveness in interdicting illegal drugs.

The U.S. and Thailand will continue to cooperate on extradition of fugitives. The office of the Thai attorney general is drafting a new extradition law to update the current 1929 statute. Judicial processes will strengthen as the political system develops. The narcotic crop control program will be maintained. Regional cooperation on crime will expand through networking facilitated by the International Law Enforcement Academy in Bangkok. Thailand will develop systems of internal control and legal and administrative tools to counter the destabilizing impact of corruption and the influence of organized crime; however political commitment will be required to effectively implement the new measures. Current drug prevention and treatment activities will develop into increasingly more comprehensive nationwide programs because it is well understood that demand reduction is the most effective approach in dealing with the complex social problem of substance abuse. Thailand will continue to burnish its reputation in counternarcotics efforts, and neighboring countries will follow aspects of the Thai model.

Thailand Statistics














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Other Data


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(1) Figure based on December 1991-February 1992 Opium Yield Study. Average yield hectare is 11.5 kilograms. Opium in Thailand is generally cultivated, harvested and eradicated from October to February each year. To make the data consistent with seizure and processing data, opium seasons are identified by the calendar year in which they end. For example, the October 1999 to February 2000 opium season is referred to as the 2000 calendar year season. Data on opium cultivation, eradication, and production are based on USG estimates. RTG estimates are often lower on cultivation and higher on eradication. Data on opium cultivation, eradication, and production are based on RTG and USG estimates. RTG estimates are lower on cultivation.


I. Summary

Building on the achievements of 1999, the year 2000 saw steady advances in the war against drugs in Vietnam: counternarcotics efforts were reorganized to overcome bureaucratic impediments, the Government of Vietnam's (GVN) anticorruption campaign continued, and the level of overseas cooperation increased. There was a slight increase in rates of new drug addiction after years of alarming rapid increases. In December the National Assembly passed a counternarcotics bill, drafted with U.S. assistance, that will, for the first time, formally allow Vietnamese law-enforcement authorities to use important investigative techniques against drug traffickers.

Vietnam is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances.

II. Status of Country

Vietnam is a major drug-producing country. Due to improved weather, Vietnam saw a modest 10 percent increase in poppy cultivation to 2,300 hectares in 2000 from 2,125 hectares in 1999. Potential opium production in 2000 increased 36 percent to 15 metric tons of raw opium from 11 metric tons in 1999. Although Vietnam is on the Majors List of drug-producing countries, poppy cultivation in Vietnam is marginal by global and regional standards, providing less than 1 percent of Golden Triangle opium. Despite vigorous efforts to eradicate poppy cultivation in mountainous border regions through crop-substitution and law-enforcement initiatives, poppy cultivation continues to occur, particularly in the northwestern provinces of Nghe An, Lai Chau and Son La. According to Vietnamese police sources, Vietnam produced no cannabis in the year 2000, although there is evidence of some cannabis growth undetected by local police.

Vietnam is also a drug-transit country. Heroin from the Golden Triangle transits Vietnam on its way to industrialized countries. Cannabis, along with some heroin and synthetic drugs, passes into Vietnam from Cambodia. Increasing quantities of synthetic drugs, amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), and psychotropic drugs manufactured in China and Burma have been entering Vietnam through its borders with China and Laos. The growing availability of drugs passing through Vietnam in recent years led to serious growth in domestic consumption, especially among urban youth. Alarmed, the government responded with an augmented prevention campaign in schools, workplaces, and the media warning of the dangers of drug abuse. Government statistics for 2000 indicate that this campaign appears to have had some success in slowing or halting the rate of increase in the number of drug users.

The structure of Vietnamese counternarcotics efforts changed in 2000 as Prime Minister Khai attempted to bring about a more efficient national approach. Khai established the Vietnam National Drug Control Committee (VNDCC) in 1997 to coordinate drug control efforts. During 2000, he created a new organization, the National Committee for Aids, Drugs, and Prostitution Control (NCADP), by merging the VNDCC with the Government Steering Committee on Social Evils and the National Aids Committee. Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem chairs the NCADP. It has four deputy chairpersons: Minister of Public Security Le Minh Huong, Minister of Labor Nguyen Thi Hang, Minister of Health Do Nguyen Phuong, and Ha Thi Lien, Standing Member of the Presidium of the Fatherland Front. The committee includes representatives from thirteen additional ministries and mass organizations. The VNDCC has been renamed the Standing Office for Drug Control (SODC).

The World Bank is working with the government to develop a money-laundering chapter for draft banking legislation. In December 2000, the National Assembly passed Vietnam's first comprehensive counternarcotics law, which for the first time allows Vietnamese police to use commonly accepted law-enforcement techniques, such as controlled deliveries, against traffickers.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2000

Policy Initiatives. In a major policy speech on March 10, Prime Minister Khai reviewed progress on Directive 1411, issued in 1999, covering the fight against drugs. He urged all segments of Vietnamese society to support community drug-rehabilitation efforts and join in the fight against drug trafficking. He announced that the government had set up a new drug control fund, but made clear that strong efforts by the state would not be effective without greater involvement by the Vietnamese people. He identified drug control as a "key national program" to be directed by the government and called for additional initiatives to stop drug crimes, which he characterized as "a constant concern" for the state and society.

Because of the importance of narcotics issues, GVN law-enforcement officials have drafted a long-term counternarcotics Master Plan for the period 2001-2010, broken down into two stages, 2001-2005 and 2005-2010. They expect the draft will soon be approved. The Master Plan consists of fourteen projects, some of which are targeted for implementation during the second half of the decade. Those projects include:

  • Expanding the Master Plan for 2001-2010.

  • Strengthening the capacity of the NCADP and SODC.

  • Developing socioeconomic programs for crop substitution in Ky Son District, Nghe An Province (2005-2010).

  • Developing socioeconomic programs for crop substitution in Song Ma District, Son La Province (2005-2010).

  • Strengthening the capacity of drug law-enforcement forces.

  • Improving training centers for counternarcotics personnel.

  • Completing the development of comprehensive counternarcotics laws.

  • Strengthening the capacity of the National Center for Drug Inspection.

  • Strengthening Vietnam's drug-treatment and drug-rehabilitation capabilities.

  • Strengthening counternarcotics and drug-abuse education and information agencies.

  • Enhancing counternarcotics education in the schools.

  • Strengthening drug-abuse prevention and drug-addiction treatment programs for workers.

  • Preventing drug abuse among minority group members.

  • Preventing HIV/AIDS among drug addicts.

General Le The Tiem, Vice Minister of Public Security in charge of counternarcotics affairs, identified six points to be stressed during an intensified counternarcotics drive launched from November 20, 2000 to January 31, 2001:

  • To create momentum for 2001 to concentrate on drug "hot spots" (believed to include Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Haiphong, Lang Son and Nghe An).

  • To strengthen education programs, including spreading information about the new counternarcotics law and building a model of drug-free communities.

  • To improve drug control and to apply stiffer punishments for drug offenders.

  • To improve drug treatment.

  • To continue to eradicate poppy crops, with special attention to Son La, Lai Chau, and Nghe An.

  • To implement fully the new counternarcotics law.

Vietnam's commitment to address the drug threat is also reflected in increased government expenditures to combat narcotics. The SODC reported that the GVN will spend 400 billion Vietnamese dong (U.S. $28.5 million) in 2001, compared to 200 billion dong (U.S. $14.3 million) spent in 2000 and 160 billion dong (U.S. $11.6 million) in spent in 1999.

Law Enforcement Efforts. In 2000 Vietnam strengthened coordination among its police officers, customs agents, and border guards. Vietnamese police and security agencies hold regular meetings with their Lao counterparts, including meetings with provincial authorities of border provinces. The UNDCP, foreign governments, and non-governmental organizations maintain four national projects and six subregional projects on drug control cooperation.

Overall, drug seizures continued to rise in most categories, although amounts seized are still small. Law-enforcement officers seized 60 kilograms of heroin, 567 kilograms of opium, 2,200 kilograms of marijuana, 119,465 vials of addictive drugs, 66,192 doses of heroin, and 6,783 tablets of amphetamine-type stimulants (including methamphetamines). The quantities of opium, vials of addictive drugs, and tablets of ATS interdicted increased by 26.5 percent. Once the seizure is made, however, the investigations often end due to a lack of training and experience of narcotics investigators and legal insufficiencies preventing full professional investigations.

According SODC statistics, in calendar year 2000 Vietnamese law-enforcement officers handled 16,276 cases, with 19,500 persons arrested. The Ministry of Public Security's forces handled the majority of those cases. The border forces and the customs forces handled small numbers of cases.

Drug-related cases constituted a large proportion of criminal prosecutions in Vietnam, and courts throughout the country saw an increase in the number of drug cases in 2000 over previous years. According to press reports, Vietnamese courts tried 7,093 cases involving 10,242 drug offenders in 2000. Of those convicted, 86 received a death sentence, 87 received life sentences, and over 4,800 were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 7 to 20 years. In Vietnam, possession of 100 grams of heroin or 5 kilograms of opium warrants the death penalty.

In terms of its scope and overall complexity, the most important case of the year was the Nam Dinh case. On June 26, 2000, the Nam Dinh Provincial People's Court handed down death sentences to Nguyen Van Tam, ring leader of what has been called the biggest drug syndicate ever exposed in Vietnam, and 10 of his accomplices. The men were convicted of trafficking more than 259.5 kilograms of heroin and 289 kilograms of opium over seven years. Additional charges included illegal possession of small arms and counterfeiting Vietnamese currency. Nine others involved in the drug ring received life sentences, one received a 20 year sentence, and another a term of 18 years. At least one high-ranking provincial military official was among those sentenced.

The year 2000 brought an unprecedented new public awareness of the threat posed by methamphetamines. During a working visit to Lam Dong Province in October, Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem warned the provincial leadership of a tendency among drug addicts, especially students, to use ATS, such as methamphetamines. Khiem urged provincial law-enforcement agencies to do more to combat ATS use. He also mentioned that ATS are popular due to their modest price and ease of use. This event marks the first time that a Vietnamese leader has so specifically addressed the use of methamphetamines and other ATS.

Accomplishments. In 2000 Vietnam took significant steps towards achieving full compliance with the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The most striking achievement was the enactment in December of the nation's first counternarcotics law, which was drafted with advice and assistance from a U.S. Department of Justice attorney. The new law is a significant step towards incorporating UNDCP model legislation. Together with amendments to the Penal Code in 1999, the counternarcotics law considerably enhances Vietnam's capacity to deal with drug crime, for the first time allowing use of such standard law-enforcement techniques as controlled deliveries.

Vietnam's new counternarcotics law will be used by the government to further implement the terms of the UN Drug Convention. The Ordinance on the Conclusion and Implementation of International Agreements approved by the Standing Committee of the National Assembly on August 20, 1998, provides a formal basis for entering into international legal agreements, such as Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties.

The GVN continued its efforts to reduce opium poppy cultivation. It intensified cross-border collaboration with neighbors on law-enforcement issues.

NCADP launched a three-month counternarcotics campaign running from October 2000 to January 2001. According to a government report, by the end of 2000, counternarcotics offices had been set up in 42 provinces and cities and in 469 districts. Guidelines on use of the National Drug Control Fund and the Protocol on Drug Control Cooperation between the police, customs, border army, and the marine police were drafted and submitted to the Prime Minister's Office and National Assembly.

The NCADP reported that Vietnam made significant advances against drugs in five major areas in 2000. Vietnam successfully raised awareness about drugs through Directive 1411. Almost all the people of Vietnam have now taken part in antidrug education and information programs and participated in numerous separate regional antidrug campaigns nationwide. The 1996-2000 counternarcotics Master Plan was completed with satisfactory results, and the 2001-2010 Master Plan has been drafted. Vietnam made strides in stemming the rate of increase of drug trafficking and abuse over previous years. Of particular note is the modest rate of increase in the number of new drug addicts among students, a victory for Vietnam's demand reduction program. Vietnam eradicated 428 hectares of land used for poppy cultivation in 1999. The GVN tightened drug control though adoption of tougher punishments for drug offenders.

Corruption. Official corruption is widespread in Vietnam. During 2000, Vietnam's anticorruption campaign continued, with firings and arrests of government and party officials at various levels. As part of this campaign, Vietnamese officials have spoken out publicly against narcotics-related official corruption, although the anticorruption effort has been aimed at all forms of official corruption. In a March 10 speech Prime Minister Phan Van Khai called for officials found to be misusing funds for drug-prevention and drug-control programs to be severely punished.

According to press reports, Vietnamese courts prosecuted 447 corruption cases involving 820 defendants accused of embezzlement of state funds, bribery, and similar crimes. Many officials are adept at concealing their involvement in criminal activities, making it difficult to uncover and investigate their activities; therefore, the scope of corruption is much broader than the number of cases would indicate.

Agreements and Treaties. Vietnam is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. In February 2000, Vietnam signed a counternarcotics agreement with Japan that provides for information sharing and training for Vietnamese counternarcotics officers. Vietnam has counternarcotics agreements with five countries: Burma (1995), Thailand, Russia, Cambodia, and Laos (1999). In 1993, with UNDCP support, Vietnam signed a regional counternarcotics Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with China, Laos, Burma, Thailand, and Cambodia. The so-called "MOU states" agreed to cooperate on counternarcotics activities and to work with UNDCP help to coordinate their law-enforcement efforts. Vietnam is currently precluded by statute from extraditing Vietnamese nationals, but it is contemplating legislative changes. Vietnam signed the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime in December 2000.

Cultivation/Production. Opium is grown in the uplands and mountainous regions of some northwestern provinces of Vietnam, notably Son La, Lai Chau, and Nghe Aan. The total number of hectares under cultivation has been reduced sharply from an estimated 12,900 hectares in 1993, when the GVN began opium poppy eradication, to 2,300 hectares in 2000. A key to the government's effectiveness has been crop-substitution. Localities successfully combined substitution programs with socioeconomic development programs, replacing poppy plants with other high yield crops such as mandarin oranges, tea, cinnamon, plums, herbs, hybrid corn, potatoes, and soybeans.

In recent years, a few producers shifted back to poppy cultivation due to a lack of processing facilities and markets for the substitute crops. In 1998-99, poppy cultivation reoccurred in some distant valleys along the border with Laos and in mountainous areas, raising the total area devoted to poppy cultivation. The GVN's Committee for Ethnic Minorities and Mountainous Areas instructed People's Committees of ten northern upland provinces where poppy was cultivated to carry out intensive education programs in order to encourage eradication by local people, who are reported to have successfully eradicated up to 624 hectares of poppy. According to government reports, 98 percent of Vietnam's opium crop has been eliminated. Eradication is primarily done by hand, normally by peasant farmers themselves, when told by police or local leaders to destroy their illicit crops. Estimates of all drug production in Vietnam are only approximate, since Vietnam lacks the means to perform a scientific survey of its illicit crops.

The government claims that Vietnamese opium is exclusively for domestic consumption, primarily among minority group members in the mountainous areas. Some opium is sold to drug organizations, however, which are believed to sell it within Vietnam. It is also possible that the drug organizations transport the illicit narcotics across Vietnam's borders.

Vietnamese law-enforcement authorities reported that eradication efforts have been completely successful in eliminating the cannabis crop in the south, although U.S. Embassy officers have seen evidence suggesting that cannabis is still being grown.

Drug Flow/Transit. Due in part to its proximity to the Golden Triangle, Vietnam is a transit point for opium and heroin. Vietnamese narcotics authorities have identified three main trafficking routes through Vietnam. First, heroin and other drugs from the Golden Triangle enter via mountainous border points in Lai Chau province, from which they are transported to Hanoi. Methamphetamines, synthetic drugs, and other illicit substances also arrive in Vietnam at various points along the border with China for transport to Hanoi. From Hanoi, drugs are transported to the port of Haiphong for transshipment to The Philippines, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, then on to Japan, and possibly to the United States.

Second, drugs (especially heroin) from the Golden Triangle pass over the border from Laos into Nghe An Province and on to the Port of Vinh. Since Laos is landlocked, Vietnam has designated Vinh as Laos' "port city," so illicit drugs are easily hidden in legitimate merchandise being exported. From Vinh, heroin follows similar routes through The Philippines, Hong Kong, and Taiwan and on to the West from there. Heroin arriving from Thailand passes through various points on the Lao-Vietnamese border, from which it is transported to Ho Chi Minh City. At the port of Ho Chi Minh City, the drugs are transported to Singapore and Malaysia. Vietnam government officials believe some drugs from Ho Chi Minh City are destined for the U.S.

Other transit routes are also used. Vietnamese and third-country law-enforcement authorities are currently investigating a Sino-Thai trafficker who uses Vietnam as a transit point for Cambodian marijuana and small amounts of methamphetamines and MDMA (ecstasy). The drugs are said to enter at the Tay Ninh or An Giang border points. Once in Vietnam, the drugs travel northward by truck across the border into China. The Vietnamese police have already seized two loads of marijuana trafficked by this organization, including a 350 kilogram load in Nghe An. The same route was also used in a 1.4 kilogram heroin seizure, as well as in another seizure involving 600 tablets of suspected MDMA.

Vietnam's law-enforcement authorities are concerned about the use of commercial airplanes to transport heroin. They believe increasing quantities of heroin arriving in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City by land are sent overseas by air, including some sent via express mail services. New personnel appointed to lead the Vietnamese Customs Department in 2000 were expected to provide new approaches for Vietnam to address this problem.

Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). Demand reduction has been a major focus of Vietnam's fight against drugs. Vietnam has 52 drug-treatment centers nationwide, frequently offering patients a choice of institution-based or community-based treatment. There is often a waiting list of patients for treatment centers, and the rate of relapse is high, considered to be 80-90 percent nationwide. The incidence of HIV/AIDS in Vietnam is closely linked to drug use. About 64 percent of Vietnam's 27,000 reported HIV/AIDS cases occur among injected-drug users.

A major part of Vietnam's demand-reduction strategy is promoting drug education and information. The Ministry of Culture and Information heads the effort in coordination with the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Education and Training, the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, the Women's Union, the Vietnam Fatherland Front, the Vietnam Farmers Union and other ministries and agencies. Information and educational materials are distributed through a variety of channels, including mass media, cultural and artistic activities, contests, and establishing drug-free zones and communities. Of 10,257 communes and wards, 3,800 locales, or 37 percent of the nationwide total, have committed themselves to becoming drug free.

The NCADP coordinates counternarcotics campaigns with local and national agencies, newspapers, and radio and television stations. The SODC reports that more than 10,000 news articles and photographs about drug-related themes have appeared in the mass media. Programs such as "Hotline for Drug Crimes" in the Ho Chi Minh City police newspaper, "Drugs: SOS!" on Vietnamese television, "Counternarcotics" on the Voice of Vietnam, and "Don't Share Life With Drugs" in the Hanoi mass-circulation daily "Lao Dong" ("Labor") have contributed to raising awareness about and discouraging use of drugs.

According to the statistics from provincial steering committees for drug control, Vietnam has 100,293 drug addicts. Out of this number, they state, 1,609 are students. According to a public statement by the Deputy Prime Minister, drug abusers spend nearly 200 billion Vietnamese dong (nearly U.S. $14 million) a year on drugs. Compared to December 1999, the total number of addicts had decreased by 4,281 persons in 2000, according to SODC statistics. In 2000, the SODC reported that 29 provinces and cities, particularly Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, saw a decrease in the number of addicts, while 15 others saw a rise. Local press accounts citing government authorities, however, reported that the number of addicts in Ho Chi Minh City increased by 4,712 to 17,239 in 2000. The decline in the overall size of the addicted population reported by SODC, if accurate, has not yet resulted in decreased demand for spaces in treatment centers. The local media also reported that drug abuse has touched the middle class and continued to spread from urban centers into the countryside.

The Ministry of Labor, War Invalids, and Social Affairs (MOLISA) has ordered improvements in provincial and municipal treatment centers, including increasing the duration of treatment from 6 months to 1 year, diversifying and socializing the forms of treatment, providing professional training for treatment staff, adopting a five-stage treatment method, and providing vocational training and jobs. Large centers in Ba Vi (Hanoi) and Phu Van (Ho Chi Minh City) are being expanded to serve as major regional centers.

MOLISA treatment centers are understaffed and available at the provincial level only. Treatment at the commune and ward level remains nonexistent or inadequate. The high relapse rate is partly due to the lack of specialized staff and insufficient attention to post-treatment management.

The Vietnam General Confederation of Labor has recently drafted a plan for 2001 to fight drugs among government workers to eliminate, or at least reduce, the number of addicts employed by the government. The objectives of the plan are to ensure that 90 percent of employees are fully aware of the dangers of drugs, 70 percent of offices, businesses, and residences are drug free, and government employees do not store, use, or trade in drugs.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives. A key U.S. policy objective for Vietnam is to conclude a bilateral counternarcotics agreement to advance cooperation and assistance to combat narcotics production and trafficking. The GVN is also interested in finalizing the agreement, and most of the draft agreement's provisions have been finalized. A permanent Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) office opened in Hanoi in February 2000. The U.S. currently funds training for Vietnamese law-enforcement officers to participate in courses at the U.S.-Thai International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok. The U.S. also contributes to assistance to Vietnam through its contributions to the UNDCP.

Bilateral Cooperation. Despite the absence of a formal counternarcotics agreement, Vietnamese authorities cooperated extensively with U.S. Embassy officers, law-enforcement agencies, and courts in 2000. There is a regular exchange of criminal information. Vietnamese law-enforcement agencies eagerly participate in U.S. training programs, particularly in courses at ILEA. Vietnamese national and provincial law-enforcement agents are relatively accessible and cooperative with embassy officers in meetings. The establishment of a DEA country office in Hanoi has led to more direct exchanges of law-enforcement information with the Ministry of Public Security and greater responsiveness by Vietnamese police and security officials.

The Road Ahead. Vietnam is acutely aware of the increased domestic drug threat and has developed initiatives to try to address the range of problems created by the trafficking and use of illicit narcotics. Vietnam has begun to work more closely with U.S. law enforcement and with its neighboring countries to coordinate ways to defeat drug traffickers and to combat the drug trade. Both the U.S. and Vietnam look forward to concluding the bilateral counternarcotics agreement so that they may more fully cooperate on a range of narcotics matters.