Members of a triad syndicate were detained for laundering $HK220 million in drug money, highlighting Hong Kong’s role as a major drug trafficking hub in the region.  We look at the impacts of drug smuggling in Asia-Pacific, and what governments in the region are doing to try and stop it.

Drug Trafficking in Hong Kong


  • Statistics show drug trafficking is on the rise throughout Asia-Pacific, with Hong Kong being a major hub.
  • Hong Kong drug smuggling: members of a triad drug trafficking ring were arrested for laundering HK$220 million.

Five members of a drug trafficking syndicate have been detained in Hong Kong after allegedly laundering HK$220 million, a two-year investigation has revealed. Among the five detainees is a 59-year-old thought to be the leader of the Sun Yee On triad faction, who is claimed to have employed youths as young as 13 years old to distribute narcotics in an attempt to evade arrest.

As drug trafficking in Asia-Pacific rises to meet the demands of growing economies, drug abuse and addiction are on the rise as well.  What is Asia is doing to address the problem, and what effective drug addiction treatment options are available?

Drug Use in Hong Kong is More Common than You Might Expect

Statistics show that drug abuse and addiction is on the rise in many countries in Asia-Pacific, and Hong Kong is a major hub for distribution in the area. Drug seizures increased 200 per cent in the latter half of 2015, though police officials have reported a significant decrease in the number of drug abusers in the last few years – a claim heavily disputed by drug counsellors in the area.

According to the Hong Kong Statistics and Census Department, “The drug history… of newly reported cases had continued to rise. Half of the newly reported abusers in 2015 had a drug history of at least 5.8 years (5.2 years in 2014). This reflected that hidden drug abuse is still a concern.”

Experts say that there is an increasing amount of peer pressure on students and people in the younger age groups to use illegal drugs, and a growing number of adults are turning to prescription opioids to alleviate the symptoms of depression and stress. Unfortunately, addictive opioids are not a productive long-term solution to negative emotions, and some patients eventually turn to stronger illicit drugs after building a tolerance to pills.

Are Drugs Taking Over Your Life?

Who does Drug Addiction Affect in Asia?

Some people assume that the poor are the worst-affected by drug addiction, but drugs such as cocaine are considered up-market and attract large numbers of professionals, celebrities and even politicians.  Cocaine seizures in Hong Kong rose by 162 per cent last year, while ketamine were seizures up by 140 per cent.

A supplier for the region, Myanmar is now the second biggest opium cultivator in the world, having more than doubled poppy cultivation since 2006. It has also shifted a large portion of its production to methamphetamine, or yaba (aka the ‘crazy drug’), a major problem in Thailand and other nearby countries.

The Asia-Pacific’s War on Drugs

As illicit drug consumption continues to rise, central governments of Asia-Pacific nations are taking wildly different approaches to tackling the problem, some more drastic than others. In The Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte’s ruthless anti-drug campaign has seen more than 5,000 people killed since his inauguration in June. Most of the killings have been carried out by vigilantes who are actively encouraged to seek out those suffering with drug addiction – recently, five-year-old Danica Mae was killed in the crossfire between a family and a vigilante gang. Despite the violence and accidental killings, Indonesia is considering following suit.

It seems that crackdown efforts through further criminalisation of drug abuse are futile, which is why Australia is considering taking a different approach to tackling the drug problem. Though talks are still in their early stages, many Australian citizens and officials want to approach drugs in a similar way to Portugal, which saw positive results following largely decriminalising illicit drugs in 2001 in favour of providing effective treatment.

Asian Drug Smuggling: Supply and Demand

Drug syndicates that employ illegal and exploitative methods of production and distribution are bolstered by an increase in drug consumption.  As emerging economies in Asia result in a growing number of people with disposable income, drug traffickers turn to the Asian market to expand their client base.  Drug abuse and addiction have harmful effects on society as well as individuals. Governments are required to spend vast amounts on tackling the drug problem, and some people suffering from addiction may turn to crime in order to obtain the cash they need to buy the substance that controls them.

Unfortunately, many people suffering from addiction feel there is no way out and are compelled to sustain their addictive behaviour.  Sufferers of addiction often feel too ashamed to reach out for help or think treatment efforts will prove ineffective. Luckily, effective drug addiction treatment is available.

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Drug Addiction Treatment in Hong Kong

People turn to drugs for all sorts of reasons and find themselves lost in addiction quicker than they imagined possible. It can be difficult to escape the grips of addiction alone, which is why professional assistance has been proved time and time again to be the most successful way to manage the disorder.

If you or anybody you know is suffering from drug addiction, we are here to help. At The Cabin Hong Kong, we provide confidential, holistic treatments to help you return to a healthy lifestyle, and our aftercare support services will help see you through to a lasting recovery.  Contact The Cabin Hong Kong today for more information.