Fight against drugs gets high-tech aid
April 7, 2006
targeting China will soon face a new deterrent, as
a device to detect drugs hidden inside human
bodies will be recommended for nationwide use this
X-ray detector, which has been used experimentally
in Southwest China's
Guizhou provinces since 2003 and passed final
appraisal last year, would be used at checkpoints
across the country, especially those along the
Ministry of Public Security told a press
Shuo, deputy director of the ministry's science
and technology bureau, said the wide use of the
detector might greatly curb drug trafficking in
China, as passenger pathways at border checkpoints
have become the main channel for trafficking.
Official figures show that more than half of the
117 kilograms of heroin and drug-related chemicals
seized by Chinese border police in the first two
months of this year had been found in passengers'
clothing or inside their bodies.
"Before the invention of the detector, it was very
hard to find drugs hidden inside human bodies,
such as in the stomach, intestines or vagina," Liu
said. "We relied on experience and manual checks,
which easily made mistakes and caused disputes
over human rights.
the use of the new device in Yunnan has
significantly brought down such trafficking cases,
and we hope it can be installed at checkpoints
across the country."
policeman surnamed Li, who works at the Kunming
Railway Station, told China Daily that on average,
they find four alleged traffickers a day with the
help of the detector.
Working similar to a medical fluoroscope, the
detector uses domestic innovative technology, said
Luo Shanzhong, another bureau official.
said suspects stand in front of the detector,
which can be either fixed or portable, for only
one minute before the results are given.
accuracy, our products compare to any similar
foreign products," he said.
added that the machine does almost no harm to
human bodies, as the X-ray emitted is about
one-tenth of that emitted by regular chest X-ray
only suspects will be required to go through the
check, not everyone," he said.
far, 62 detectors are in use at checkpoints in
Yunnan and Guizhou, the
Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and
However, "we recommend that checkpoints install
the device, but it is not a must," Luo said.
Insufficient financial input is considered as the
biggest reason. "Checkpoints get money for new
equipment from local governments," he said.
"Although a detector costs only 200,000 yuan
(US$24,700), some checkpoints in poor rural areas
still cannot afford it."