Rising drug abuse in Vietnam prompts int'l cooperation

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Alarmed by an "unusual" increase in drug abuse in mountainous and border areas, Vietnam will strive to strengthen international cooperation in tackling drug trafficking.

The government has said in a statement posted on its website this week that a campaign will be also launched to increase people's awareness of the harmful consequences of drug abuse and to curb smuggling in border areas.

"Cooperation will be strengthened with countries in the region, especially those on the border, to detect, investigate and bust transnational drug smuggling rings," according to a decision signed by Prime Minister Nguyen

Tan Dung to launch a month of intensified efforts to fight drug crimes.

Drug smuggling has become more "complicated" recently with serious cases and the criminals have become more brutal and cunning, the government statement said.

In next month's anti-drug trafficking and abuse program, police will carry out raids on major smuggling and drug trading hotspots in big cities. Residents will be encouraged to report drug criminals and help improve the rehabilitation of drug addicts.

Investigators, prosecutors and courts have been asked to expedite work on cases relating to drug crimes as a deterrent.

Recent cases

Border guards in the northern central province of Nghe An last week busted a drug trafficking ring that was carrying 10.5 kilograms of heroin from Laos into Vietnam.

The guards said on May 20 that they had, together with the Laotian police, caught three drug traffickers two days earlier. The arrested traffickers, one Vietnamese and two Laotian men, said the heroin was meant for consumption in Vietnam.

One of the arrested, Vietnamese Lau Giong Xu, 42, was from Nghe An but had lived in a neighboring Laotian province for a while. Two others Va Pha, 28, and Va Thong, 30, both come from Laos' Xiengkhuang Province.

In another case, the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security said on May 21 that they had suggested to the country's top prosecutors that eight people including five Nigerians, one Zimbabwean, and two Vietnamese, be charged with drug trafficking.

The group had begun operations in late 2008 and trafficked more than 11 kilograms of heroin before being caught in June last year, police said in the documents sent to the Supreme People's Procuracy, Vietnam's highest prosecutors' office.

Investigators said the drug was transported by air from India via Ho Chi Minh City to China.

In Vietnam, anyone found guilty of possessing more than 600 grams of heroin can face the death penalty.

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