Chinese Border Guards stop Drug Trafficking — Part 1/2

The expansion of poppy growing in recent years has created problems around the globe.

Even at one of the most remote border inspection stations in the world, the frontier guards must be vigilant against drug traffickers.

Hongqilafu, Zinjiang lies along the border of China and Pakistan at an altitude of 5,100 meters (almost 17,000 feet).

The oxygen at this altitude is less than half of sea level. This is where China’s Hongqilafu border station stands.

In the last few years, more drugs have been smuggled across the Sino-Pakistani border because of the expansion of poppy growing in Afghanistan.

In fact, United Nations statistics show that 87% of all illegal heroin in the world comes from Afghanistan.

Li Shengyu, commander of the Hongqilafu Border Inspection Station says, “They need buyers for the huge amount of drugs. As far as we know, the drug dealers are targeting China as a new market and plan to make their way into China across the border at Hongqilafu.”

Between 2006 and 2008, huge amounts of drugs were intercepted at border stations. The Chinese border guards must be vigilant to discover hidden drugs among the tourists coming into China.

Learn about the 19th Century Opium Wars


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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2 Responses to Chinese Border Guards stop Drug Trafficking — Part 1/2

  1. cveuro says:

    Nice report, but those who have crossed the border might have a different point of view. All luggage is checked at Sost and Tashkurgan (emtpy all luggage, pockets), cars are very carefully searched, all traffic between the Pakistani and Chinese checkpoints have military escorts and every person arriving in China has to do a full body x-ray. It is very unlikely that big drug shipments reach China on the Karakoram Highway.

    • I’m sure what you say is true. However, I found the story of that border crossing and the lives of the border guards more interesting than anyone smuggling drugs along that route did. That has to be one heck of a tough and tedious job.

      I suspect if anyone is smuggling drugs into China along that border, it would be across the mountains on foot with backpacks or using pack animals on some obscure trail far from anywhere. Even then, it would be risky since there isn’t much cover from eyes in the sky.

      However, there is always someone without much gray matter between his or her ears who might try to sneak a few ounces into China past that checkpoint. Criminal types seldom think about actually being caught and desperately poor people are driven to take life and death risks to survive.

      “Mules” (people that carry drugs) have been caught coming into the US with balloons filled with heroin inside their stomachs. Some even die when one of those balloons bursts.

      I found information that Southeast Asia (the border with the Golden Triangle) is an easier entry point into China for drug smugglers and wrote a post on that topic which will appear in a week or so.

      When we visited southeast China near Vietnam, it was the first time I’d seen the Chinese military in public with automatic weapons. Even in cities like Shanghai or Beijing, I’ve seldom seen men or women in military uniforms and when I do, I’ve never seen any of them armed.

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