Colonel Vũ Văn Hậu. — Photo zingnews.vn
Colonel Vũ Văn Hậu, deputy head of the Investigation Police Department on Drug-related Crimes talks to zingnews.vn about the drug crimes
Drug-related crimes have become more and more complicated and unpredictable. The drug trafficking rings which were busted recently show drug trafficking groups from abroad want to choose Việt Nam as a transit place for illegal narcotics. Can you tell us more about this situation?
There are three major drug production centres in the world including the White Triangle of South America, the Golden Crescent of West Asia and the Golden Triangle in Asia. In particular, Myanmar in the Golden Triangle and Afghanistan in West Asia produce 90 per cent of the opium to create other drugs.
Trends on the synthetic drug market evolve quickly each year.
Synthetic drugs are made from precursor substances. They stimulate the nerves and cause visual hallucinations, leaving severely painful consequences on addicts’ mental health and unpredictable side effects.
Việt Nam is facing huge pressure due to the complicated development of drug-related crimes. Drug gangs and synthetic drug production as well as replanting opium poppy plants are at risk of increasing. Drug criminals always want to turn Việt Nam into a transit area for banned substances. Meanwhile, domestic and international drug criminals are working closely on a large scale.
A new form of activity of this crime from abroad is to use submarines to transport heroin.
We need to have a new mindset and new methods. It means the drug prevention force need to have solutions consistent with the evolution of drug crime in the region and in the world.
Drug criminals are always seeking ways to produce new drugs, even though there are new substances that are not on the list of banned substances in the country. How is this situation happening?
Synthetic drugs include precursors and chemicals. In particular, precursors are a common commodity and use in daily life. So it is easily exploited to produce synthetic drugs.
Anyone can go to the market or chemical stores and easily buy precursors. In order to strictly control this substances, the Ministry of Public Security has coordinated the other agencies to suggest the Government to put the precursors and chemicals on the list of management.
The Decree 73 in 2018 has listed 515 narcotics substances and 44 precursors under management.
Recently, Decree 60 in 2020 has added 23 narcotics substances and 13 precursors to the management list. This proves that the fight against drug-related crimes, especially precursors, is always very fierce.
The new drugs are highly toxic and addictive but low in price. That is why many new drugs are constantly appearing.
What solution is needed to fight against criminals who try to circumvent the law by producing new drugs?
Drug criminals are not only capable but also wise enough to find a way to evade the law. In order to combat this type of crime, the management of drugs should be tightened as criminals could take advantage of the loopholes for their own benefit.
It is necessary to strictly control chemicals as well as related drugs that traffickers use to commit a criminal offence.
We need to assess and identify the exact drugs on the list. As in the case of trading new drug like khát leaves in previous years, it took us years but still could not handle users.
The Investigation Police Department on Drug-related Crimes always tries to research and advise the Ministry of Public Security in the management of precursors, avoiding the omission of new substances.
It is necessary to build a strong “barrier” along the border to prevent drugs entering the country and close co-operation between border forces, customs, the coast guard and the anti-drug police.
During the social distancing period caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of trading, trafficking and using of illegal drugs did not decrease in the first six months. Many cases were discovered in bars, discos or karaoke bars, where drug offenders often use to conduct their operations.
Transnational drug crimes with foreign involvement have become more complicated with more cunning tricks. What methods are being use?
Drug criminals are like an octopus that can reach anywhere. Not only in Việt Nam, but also in many other regions of the world.
In Asia, not only Việt Nam, some countries such as Myanmar, Laos or Thailand are considered the centres of drug-related crimes. However, Việt Nam is a place where criminals have noticed and are looking to penetrate.
The reason was that the border route was directly affected by illegal drug production and trading from the 'Golden Triangle' area.
The leader of drug gangs cross the borders illegally to smuggle drugs.
In the border area between Việt Nam and China, heroin was transported to China via Việt Nam.
The number of Chinese people living in Việt Nam is large, the number of entry of people is not small. Therefore, drug criminals easily to enter domestic market and find ways to hire locations to produce and transport drugs.
The Southwest region and HCM City are also the hot spot for drug crimes along the Cambodia – Việt Nam border.
What is the Ministry of Public Security's plan to prevent illegal drug smuggling across the border into Việt Nam?
The main goal is to prevent international drug trafficking from foreign countries to Việt Nam and vice versa.
To carry out that task, the anti-drug forces must prevent drug offenses from border areas, at sea and "hot spots" in the country. It requires close co-ordination between police, border guards, customs and the coast guard.
The Investigation Police Department on Drug-related Crimes is going to submit to the Government a draft amendment to Decision 133 on the coordination regulations between the above forces, develop a scheme to prevent cross-border drug and strengthen international co-operation in drug prevention.
We have signed conventions and a series of agreements and memorandums with other countries' anti-drug forces and international drug prevention organisations in drug inspection and information sharing to trace drug origins and crimes. — VNS