Asia Minute: Record Seizures of Methamphetamine in Asia

Oct 17, 2018

Credit Radspunk / CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons

Police in South Korea this week made the largest seizure of methamphetamine in the country’s history. Authorities say it was smuggled in by an international syndicate; it’s the latest reminder that the drug remains a potent threat in the Asia Pacific.

Police in South Korea say they’ve arrested half a dozen people connected with a methamphetamine smuggling operation involving organized crime rings in Taiwan and Japan.

Authorities seized nearly 250 pounds of meth — worth more than 325 million dollars. Police say the shipment was hidden in an industrial machine that produces screws. It was on board a ship arriving in South Korea from Thailand.

The Joongang Daily reports the smuggling involves groups from Taiwan’s Bamboo Union gang and the Japanese yakuza group the Inagawa-kai.

In an unrelated case this past weekend, police in northern Thailand seized 200 million methamphetamine pills and more than 200 pounds of crystal meth hidden in fertilizer sacks in the back of several pickup trucks.

This spring, authorities in Malaysia intercepted more than a ton of crystal meth. It was the largest seizure of crystal meth in the country’s history.

Police say the drugs were disguised as tea, and came in a shipment from Myanmar.

Credit USCG PA2 Bobby Nash / DVIDS

Reuters says record seizures of the drug have also taken place this year in Thailand and Indonesia.

Last year, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said the greatest global health threat connected to drugs is methamphetamine.