BEIJING, June 25 (Xinhua) -- The Supreme People's Court (SPC) on Monday announced its approval of the death penalty for seven drug traffickers, a day before the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
Gao Guijun, presiding judge of the Fifth Criminal Court under the Supreme People's Court, said that since the SPC took back the power of review over the death penalty on Jan. 1, the SPC had strictly examined death penalty cases involving drug trafficking.
"Our approval of the death penalty regarding drug trafficking could stand the test of history," said Gao.
Ni Shouming, the SPC's spokesman, reiterated the court's resolute stance on fighting drug trafficking, saying the court would show no leniency in handing down heavy penalties to the kingpins of drug trafficking gangs and those who participate in cross-border drug crimes.
Three principals of a cross-border drug crime, Yan Hanlong, Li Zibin and Xiong Shiwei, were sentenced to death for the "extremely huge amount" of 42 kilograms of heroin they smuggled from Myanmar, according to the SPC statement.
Wang Guangyou was sentenced to death for organizing heroin trafficking that "caused a great harm to society", according to the SPC after it reviewed the death sentence issued by the Higher People's Court of Guizhou Province in southwest China.
Wang organized villagers in Guizhou to transport 806 grams of heroin from Kunming, southwest Yunnan Province. Police found five villagers, who tried to evade police inspection at train stations, had hidden the drugs internally.
Also sentenced to death was Zhang Hong'an, who had long been engaged in cross-border drug crimes as the leader of a trafficking gang, an SPC statement said.
The other two death penalties were given to Long Congbin, who had served imprisonment for drug trafficking before his latest conviction, and Guo Shichen, who was sentenced to death for trade of new types of drugs such as ecstasy and "magu", a Thai word for a stimulant drug that is a combination of methamphetamine and caffeine.
The SPC said Guo's trade of "magu" amounted to 1,275 grams, well above the standard for a death sentence.
Chinese Customs had seized 229 kilograms of heroin and detained180 drug trafficking suspects by June 15 this year, according to the General Administration of Customs.
A drug control official earlier said customs officers had investigated 165 drug trafficking cases, up 81 percent from the same period last year.
Although there was a decline in cases involving large amounts of drugs, smugglers are "breaking up their caches into smaller parts", said the official.
In the most recent case, the drug smugglers had pretended to be tourists and had drugs in their luggage, said the official.
The Ministry of Public Security has announced major breakthroughs in the fight against drugs in the first half of the year with rings broken in east China's Shanghai and Zhejiang, the southern province of Guangdong, southwest Sichuan and Yunnan, and northwest Gansu and Ningxia.
The official said Chinese customs had strengthened cooperation with foreign customs agencies to fight drug smuggling.
In April, Customs invited experts from the U.S., Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Thailand and Hong Kong to discuss future joint action to combat cross-border drug crimes.
Statistics from the SPC show that from January 2006 to May 2007,China's courts received 49,270 cases regarding drug crimes, handled 47,113 and convicted 55,671 criminals. Among them, 21,223 criminals, or 38 percent, were given "heavy penalties", including the death penalty, life imprisonment and more than five years in prison.
State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Zhou Yongkang earlier this month called for reinforced efforts to strengthen achievements in fighting heroin and curbing the spread of new types of drugs such as ecstasy and "ice".
"Effective measures should be taken to prevent poisonous chemicals, clinical narcotics and mental illness drugs from finding their way into illegal channels," said Zhou, also director of China's National Narcotics Control Commission.