Authorities in Vietnam raided a factory last month in Kontum province’s Dak Ha district, seizing tons of materials that were being used by Chinese citizens working there to manufacture drugs, authorities revealed at a regional meeting this week.
During a press conference at a ministerial meeting on drug enforcement cooperation among Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam in Hanoi on Tuesday, Col. Vũ Văn Hậu, head of the Ministry of Public Security’s Drug Crime Investigations Department, confirmed the Aug. 6 raid of the Dong An Vien Import-Export Company’s factory in Dak Ha township.
Hundreds of officers found and confiscated hundreds of liters of liquid, about 13 tons of chemicals and 20 tons of equipment. Seven Chinese citizens who were working at the factory were also arrested.
The company, owned by Tran Ngoc An, specializes in manufacturing construction materials. He reportedly rented the factory to a Chinese entity that used it to produce the drugs.
At the time of the press conference, police in nearby Bin Dinh province raided two warehouses, finding drug-producing chemicals hidden in 290 barrels and 300 bags containing powder. Six Chinese citizens were also detained in the raid, four of whom were in the country illegally.
International anti-drug cooperation
Authorities revealed during the trilateral minsters’ meeting that between December 2018 and July 2019, anti-drug forces stationed in ten Lao and Vietnamese border provinces investigated 128 drug cases, busted 70 drug rings, and detained 4,471 drug dealers while confiscating 156 kilograms of heroin, 2000 kilograms of synthetic drugs and several parcels of real estate.
Vietnam is not only a popular destination for drugs, it is also a conduit for drugs on their way to other countries.
In May, VnExpress International reported that Colonel Vũ said during an online conference that drug trafficking operations have started to use Vietnam as their transit hub.
"We have enough evidence to prove that these drugs were transported from the Golden Triangle [to Vietnam] to be sent to a third country,” he said.
The Golden Triangle refers to an area covering parts of China, Myanmar, Thailand and Laos, countries historically associated with the opium trade.
Vietnam’s long borders and numerous points of entry, as well as overland infrastructure connecting it with several countries make it ideal for trafficking purposes, according to Vũ.
But those found working as mules put their lives at risk. Possession of 600 grams of heroin or 2.5 kilograms of meth could result in a trafficker sentenced to death under Vietnam’s strict drug laws.
Reported and translated by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Written in English by Eugene Whong.