Factories in China are pumping out crystal methamphetamine to eager buyers across the Asia Pacific. As Tara Joseph reports, organized crime rings are making millions of dollars from the trade every year, fueling drugs use across the region.
Ground zero for Asia's booming trade in one of the world's most addictive and dangerous drugs. Factories in southern China - pumping out crystal methamphetamine - feeding an exploding demand across Asia-Pacific. The drugs are made from cheap chemicals - and organised crime rings are making hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Despite a few recent mega busts like this one in Sydney - packages filled with enough meth for more than 3 and half individual million hits. Hong Kong customs officials sift through thousands of packages everyday as a growing number of smugglers move drugs around in small bags through express mail to avoid detection. More than a tonne of narcotics was seized here last year alone. And regionally, the problem's getting worse. Jeremy Douglas from the office on drugs and crime explains why meth is particularly popular among producers. SOUNDBITE (English) OFFICE ON DRUGS CRIME, JEREMY DOUGLAS, SAYING: "The meth business is incredibly lucrative. its unlike say heroine where you have the farmers to grow the crop. What you need here is a well set up factory some good chemists and then someone to take your product. You don't need to have so many people involved. " Chinese authorities have stepped up raids on southern China villages to try and slow the rising tide of meth production. Experts say unless these factories are shut down, organised crime rings are likely to start targetting the U.S. as their next main export market