10 September 2007

In case you were wondering

Yes, I've been away.

And after two weeks of serious Thai carnage, I'm back and hopefully will be blogging away again soon.

And I'd like to put this question to you all:

Why is China White heroin so called when it normally comes from the Golden Triangle, and would therefore be either Thai, Burmese or Laotian?

This has got me wondering. Shouldn't it be something like "Myanmar White"?

And why are drug runners on flights from Bangkok to Melbourne so easy to spot?

Is this why the police are winning the battle against "Haitch" but doing so poorly against Crystal Meth (i.e. what the media likes to call "Ice"), Speed and Coke?

This is just more of the inane bullshit that I'd like the answers to. I promise that my next post will be better thought out. You can probably guess what the target will probably be.

9 comments:

morisetn said...

I'm obviously an innocent since to me china white had no drug connection what so ever.

I just assumed that it probably had more to do with porcelain and the color of bone china than the current provenance of illicit drugs no?

If I'm remembering correctly bone china was actually made in england, but they were trying to pawn it off as fine quality Chinese porcelain. So you got things like "The Chinese Porcelain Works - Made in Essex". Original bone china was even more English than you might guess, it was made with bone ash for which they likely used English bones (livestock I'm sure).

Dikkii said...

Ah, I think you've answered my question, morisetn.

The "china" in question was assumed to be the nation China, and the thought that it might be porcelain didn't cross my mind.

Well done.

KitKat said...

I figured it was "China" white because us ignorant Westerners consider anything from South East Asia to be Chinese... it's all the same thing hey? Duh.

But the bone china thing is highly plausible. I only recently realised that bone china was made from bones. It was on Worst Jobs in History. The worst bit was getting the rotting meat off the bones... Urgh.

Dikkii said...

That's another good answer, Kitkat, but I had the weird idea that China White was a relatively new development - as late as the 1970s - and thus we wouldn't have been as culturally backward to use the "China" descriptor in this fashion.

But I really have no idea about this.

Incidentally, I saw that episode of Worst Jobs in History. It was one of the best - unfortunately, it coincided with dinner at my in-laws.

Dunc said...

And why are drug runners on flights from Bangkok to Melbourne so easy to spot?

I've always assumed that it's because they're either decoys or sacrifices. I strongly doubt that the bulk of the illicit heroin on the market is carried across borders by individuals on scheduled flights. But you've gotta give the police someone every now and then to keep them happy, while you get on with the serious business of smuggling tonnes in shipping containers and bribing port officials.

Dikkii said...

Dunc, you're probably right.

Although, I suspect that they're just working for small time smugglers and there would be no connection.

It'll be interesting to see what happens with horse after the current crop of opium in Afghanistan is harvested. I think a good portion will come our way then. Sadly.

Dunc said...

Well, yeah, there is a certain amount of small-time or personal smuggling (heck, I've done it myself). But compared to real organised crime, it's a drop in the bucket.

Of course, there's a serious question as to whether the drug runners really are easy to spot. Unless you're actually in the Customs service, you have no way of knowing what proportion of the "obvious drug runners" actually are drug runners, and even if you are in the Customs service you have no way of knowing what proportion of drug runners are obvious.

But I still maintain it's largely irrelevant. Smuggling drugs in that way has to be about the most risky and least cost-effective option.

Remember kids - if somebody offers you money to carry a package through customs, chances are you're being set up. ;)

As to whether the police actually are winning the battle against the horse, I doubt it. The drugs trade is demand-driven, not supply-driven. There are many complex factors which affect demand.

Dikkii said...

Of course, there's a serious question as to whether the drug runners really are easy to spot. Unless you're actually in the Customs service, you have no way of knowing what proportion of the "obvious drug runners" actually are drug runners, and even if you are in the Customs service you have no way of knowing what proportion of drug runners are obvious.

This is true, however, after having worked in a Swanston Street eatery for two years and having had the unfortunate job of being the syringe cleaner-upperer in the toilets, I can say that I know what your average smackhead looks like. Add to that guys who have clearly spent lots of time in the Big House, and you have a lot of likely suspects who seem to stand out like sore thumbs amongst the yuppies, backpackers, hippies and students that appears to dominate this particular sector.

These sore thumbs do (and did, after JetStar flight JQ 030 landed) get searched at Melbourne airport.

Combine that with the added fact that I'm a sanctimonious hypocrite who readily labels people while criticising others for resorting to stereotypes, and you really will be thinking that this blogger just loves to watch. And I do.

But I still maintain it's largely irrelevant. Smuggling drugs in that way has to be about the most risky and least cost-effective option.

Correct. But don't the senior police love to make a song and dance about it when they catch someone with half a dozen condoms full of smack up their arse?

The drugs trade is demand-driven, not supply-driven. There are many complex factors which affect demand.

I'm going to dispute this one with you, but only ever so slightly.

While it's true that kids drug choices have changed and they go for the "party drugs" now, the current low usage of H appears to coincide with a few years of crackdowns by the Thai and Myanmarian governments (not really sure about Laos).

On top of this, the US invasion of Afghanistan came at about the same point in time as when the Taliban were as near as dammit to completely eradicating the poppy from Afghanistan.

Fortunately for those poor farmers, the US installed some puppet politicians who appear open to "political donations" if you know what I mean.

The crop currently maturing is apparently huge.

But your point also stands - there has been a combination of supply and demand issues contributing to the low heroin usage situation in Oz.

Dunc said...

But don't the senior police love to make a song and dance about it when they catch someone with half a dozen condoms full of smack up their arse?

Well, sure they do. It's not like they're going to come out and say "actually, all our drug interdiction efforts are a complete waste of time and money", is it?

You are right that the whole supply/demand picture is somewhat more complex than I painted it, at least in the short term. ;)