2.5 tons of plant-based drug khat seized in Hanoi

By Minh Chien - Ha An, Thanh Nien News

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Khat leaves seized in Hanoi. Photo: Minh Chien Khat leaves seized in Hanoi. Photo: Minh Chien

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Hanoi customs said Wednesday they have seized more than 2.5 tons of the narcotic stimulant khat this year. 
The illegal consignments were sent by post from Africa and were declared as tea or herbs. In some cases, the recipients were in Hanoi. Some batches were on their way to Australia, the UK and the US. 
Investigators said they have identified some of the recipients suspected of belonging to a nationwide ring. 
Vietnam is a major tea exporter and the criminals declared khat as tea to avoid getting caught, they said.
Last month, customs officers at Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport also announced the seizure of 1.2 tons of khat in five separate cases.
Khat leaves contain psychoactive ingredients cathine and cathinone, which are similar to amphetamines.
It is strictly banned in Vietnam.
Following recent cases, the Ministry of Public Security has proposed lawmakers to issue regulations to deal with the plant-based drug.

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