BANGKOK (Reuters) – Transnational crime groups are trafficking vast quantities of methamphetamine made in Southeast Asia, the United Nations said on Thursday, putting the value of the Asia-Pacific market for the drug between $30.3 billion and $61.4 billion.
The explosion in the meth trade, from an estimated $15 billion in 2013, comes as powerful syndicates exploit endemic graft, weak law enforcement and lax border controls, the United Nations added.
Parts - Southeast - Asia - Payment - Bribes
“In many parts of Southeast Asia, the systematic payment of bribes at borders is as regulated as the payment of fees in official bureaucratic systems,” the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a report.
The cartels, based in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Thailand, produce most of the meth in northern Myanmar in industrial-scale labs and distribute it as far away as Japan and New Zealand.
Meth - Market - World - Jeremy - Douglas
“The Asia-Pacific meth market is now the biggest in the world,” Jeremy Douglas, the agency’s representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, told Reuters.
“Of all the organized crime types, meth trafficking is the most dangerous and the most profitable. It underpins the growing power of these transnational crime groups.”
Markets - Australia - Japan - New - Zealand
The most valuable markets in Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea account for $20 billion, or a third of the high-end estimate of the trade, the agency added.
More than 12 million users in East Asia, Southeast Asia, Australia and...
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