Australian Police partner with China to combat ice smuggling

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Bags of methamphetamine pills Reuters/Chaiwat Subprasom

Australia has joined forces with Chinese police to investigate the smuggling of methamphetamine, or ice, into Australia.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Chinese National Narcotics Control Commission (NNCC) launched a joint team on Monday called Taskforce Blaze, in the Chinese city of Guangzhou.

Taskforce Blaze aims to gather significant information about the concealment methods, trafficking routes and syndicates linked with methamphetamine imports from Southeast China into Australia. Authorities believe East and Southeast Asia to be the world’s largest and most established market for amphetamines.

“Australian law enforcement agencies are aware that methamphetamine is a serious threat to the Australian communities, and the AFP is focused on continuing to work closely with both national and international partners to stop this drug making its way to the community,” said AFP Deputy Commissioner Jabbour.

Taskforce Blaze will be based in Guangzhou, and will include AFP members in China, the NNCC, the Chinese Anti-Smuggling Bureau, and Guangdong Public Security Bureau.

Figures from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime show the standard street price in China for a gram of ice is equal to AU$70. However in Australia, that figure is about 10 times higher.

Recent seizures by domestic law-enforcement agencies include 203 kg of ice that was hidden in truck tyres and transported by sea cargo from China in September 2013, according to the Australian Crime Commission

An additional 183 kg of ice was found hidden in sea kayak hulls transported from China to Sydney in February last year.

Taskforce Blaze will operate for a six month trial period, before an assessment will determine if the partnership will continue.

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