News

Social Workers Warn Hong Kong Youth Face Risks When They Seek Drugs in China

Lindsay CuiKate Pound Dawson

The recent detention of more than 100 Hong Kong people in southern China for drug abuse highlights the increasing popularity of cross-border entertainment trips. Social workers in Hong Kong want closer collaboration between Hong Kong and Chinese authorities to help stem drug abuse. VOA's Kate Pound Dawson has this report prepared by Lindsay Cui in Hong Kong.

Every week thousands of Hong Kong people cross into mainland China to shop, go to movies and to party at nightclubs, taking advantage of lower prices across the border.

Many young people also are attracted by cheaper prices for illegal drugs in China.

More than 100 young people from Hong Kong were detained for drug offenses in the mainland city of Shenzhen in December. Social workers say this shows just the tip of the iceberg of cross-border drug use.

Social workers say the opening of the border 24 hours a day in 2003 spurred an increase in cross-border drug trips. Statistics from the Hong Kong police department show that drug users aged 16 last accounted for more than 10 percent of drug cases, up from 7.9 percent of cases in 2003.

Eric Lau used to be one of them.

"Two years or three years ago, when I was 14, I didn't want people to look at me as a child. So I think if I take drugs, I can catch up with them. Hong Kong's legal system is strict. I'm afraid of being arrested in Hong Kong and having a life-long criminal record," he said.

Eric joined thousands of other Hong Kong residents, lured over the border by cheaper prices, bigger discos and looser controls.

Paul Lo, who heads the Evangelical Lutheran Church's North District youth outreach team, says the issue warrants more official concern.

"The mainstream society, I don't think they'll [be] concerned [about] this issue much. I've talked about the issue, [it] has already begun in 1999, [but it was] only before Christmas they did a high profile action that arrest more than one hundred Hong Kong young people," he said.

His team's research shows that of those who go to Shenzhen's discos, most go once a week, often after midnight, and they are from housing estates close to Hong Kong's border with China. Ecstasy and ketamine are the most popular drugs and young people spend $13 to $60 during each trip on transport, club entrance fees and drugs.

Lo says drugs are easy to find.

"The accessibility is quite simple," he said. "Just go into the disco and there'll be some trafficker [who will] approach you."

He says the Hong Kong government is in touch with the Shenzhen authorities, but that officials on both sides of the border could do more to tackle the problem.

He and other social workers say parents, schools and the government should work together to educate youth on the health and legal consequences of drug abuse.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs