Crime in China

News, statistics and facts about black market crime in China. Crime data about the illicit trade in China is collected from various criminal justice programs, research organizations and news articles.

Customs and Excise officials seized over 38 million cigarettes that were being smuggled into Hong Kong. The number of contraband cigarettes seized was 11 million higher than the number of cigarettes that were seized in 2012, an increase of 41 percent.

(All contraband cigarettes statistics.)

Dispite the seizures, security officials estimate that up to 1.8 billion cigarettes are smoked in Hong Kong each year that was purchased on the black market, or one in three cigarettes smoked.

The cost or a single pack of tobacco bought at a retail store in Hong Kong is $6.45 (5 Hong Kong Dollars). When buying packs off the black market, a customer can buy 10 packs for $38 (300 Hong Kong Dollars), or $3.80 per pack.

(China security threats and economic risks.)

Source:  Jennifer Ngo, “Illegal cigarette trade booming despite customs busts,” South China Morning Post, January 4, 2014.

Police in Hong Kong arrested 277 women for prostitution offenses in 2013 Most of the women working as prostitutes went to the island from the mainland provinces of Hunana, Hubei, Sichuana nd Fujian.

The ages of the prostitutes arrested in Hong Kong ranged from 17 to 60. The younger girls would work at a brothel, while the older women would solicit older or retired men on the streets.

A 17 year old girl who moved to Hong Kong from Sichuan province stated that she chose to work as a prostitute in order to make more money. Customers were paying the girl $50 to $65 (300 to 400 Chinese Yuan) per activity.

(More prostitution prices worldwide.)

Source:  “Hong Kong authorities crack down on sex workers from mainland China,” Want China Times, December 29, 2013.

In the first half of 2013, security services in China seized about 4.1 tonnes of heroin across the country. The amount seized was 12.5 percent higher than the amount seized in the first half of 2012. 6 tonnes of ketamine, an anesthetic drug primarily used by Veterinarians, were also seized during the time period, an increase of 311 percent from the year before.

In terms of traffickers, roughly 81,000 people were arrested by police across China in the first half of 2013 for drug related offenses. The number of people arrested was 34 percent higher than the year before.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the demand for heroin and opiates in China has increased to exceed the supply in Laos and Myanmar, causing traffickers to have to transport opium for Afghanistan to meet the demand.

(Price of heroin worldwide.)

Source:  Patrick Boehler, “Southeast Asia can’t meet China’s opium demand, says UN body,” South China Morning Post, December 18, 2013.


In the second half of 2013, security services in China arrested over 1,300 people who were selling counterfeit drugs on the Internet. Along with the arrests, officials in 29 provincial regions shut down 140 websites that were selling drugs on the Internet.

Over nine tons of raw materials that were being used to produce fake and substandard drugs were seized in factories across China during the year. Most of the raw materials were starch or spoiled materials, along with psychedelic and poisonous ingredients.

Source:  Dexter Roberts, “China Cracks Down on Bad Drugs with “Illegal, Psychedelic or Poisonous Ingredients”,” Bloomberg Businessweek, December 17, 2013.

A human trafficking ring was broken up by security services in Cambodia that was trafficking Cambodian women to China.

Three Cambodian women, aged between 19 to 21, were being sold as brides to Chinese men. Two individuals in the ring were being paid $1,500 to find women that could be sold. The main trafficker would then sell the women to men in China at prices between $5,000 to $10,000 per person.

(The price of humans when sold by traffickers.)

There has been a rise in the number of bride trafficking cases involving China. Due to its one child policy, the ration of men to women in China is currently 14 men to 1 women. This has led to many men being unable to find a wife, thus creating the human trafficking market for brides. It was previously reported that girls from Myanmar were sold to men in rural China for $700. Women from Vietnam have also been targeted as brides, with men in China paying $5,700.

(Under the table jobs earnings.)

Source:  Buth Reakksmey Kongkea, “Brides-to-be rescued from being ‘trafficked’,” Phnom Penh Post, December 16, 2013.

Surveillance by public health programs and criminal justice agencies indicate that 11 percent of all amphetamine and crystal meth users in China inject the drug.

In Cambodia, the rate of injection rate is 12 percent, and in Thailand the rate is 9 percent.

In Australia,where  3.4 percent of the population abuses amphetamine type stimulants, around 18 percent of the drug users inject the drugs.

Public health officials are concerned that the rising use of drug injections will lead to a rise in HIV infections.

The Southeast Asia region has seen a rise in the trafficking and production of methamphetamine. The Australian National Council on Drugs reports that government security agencies believe that there are up to 12 large-scale meth manufacturing operations in the Golden Triangle area of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand.

Back in 1999, security forces identified 300 clandestine laboratories in Southeast Asia that was producing meth. 10 years later, the number of labs increased to nearly 700.

(How much does a gram of meth cost?)

Source:  Sue Dunlevy, “Crystal meth drug Laboratories in South East Asia double,”, December 5, 2013.

According to the Chairman of the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Hong Kong, up to 90 percent of all cancer drugs in Hong Kong are bought by residents of mainland China.

The mainlanders illegally buy the cancer drugs such as Herceptin in Hong Kong due to concerns about the medical counterfeit drugs and other safety issues. In addition, the cost to purchase drugs is cheaper than on the mainland. One man who was buying breast cancer treatment drugs for his wife stated that he would saave over $1,313 (8,000 Yuan) buying Herceptin in Hong Kong than in China.

Source:  AFP, “Hong Kong’s illegal cancer drug trade driven by mainland buyers,” Google News, December 2, 2013.

The academic journal Science reported that scientists in China pay between $1,500 to $24,850 to have their names listed as authors in academic papers.

One such paper that offered authorship for sale included a study on Alzheimer that was published in a legitimate Canadian journal.

The black market in authorship has around 27 Chinese companies that offer editing and research services. According to Science, the companies offer slots on papers written by legitimate scientists, plagiarize a separate paper, or create fake data and write a completely new paper.

Previously, the Economist magazine reported that fake research and academic papers industry in China generated $150 Million a year.

Source:  Margaret Munro, “China’s academic ‘black market’ fooled Canadian journal, report says,” Province, November 28, 2013.

According to a news report in Tampa, Florida, the profit margin for selling a single counterfeit lipstick from popular makeup company MAC could be as high as $10.

The investigative news team for ABC Action News in Tampa bought a MAC lipstick off of eBay for $13. According to MAC employees, the lipstick was fake. The legitimate version sells for $15 in MAC retail stores.

When the reporters contacted the counterfeit lipstick seller on eBay, she directed them to the name of a website from China where she bought her inventory. On that website, the price to purchase the lipstick from China was less than one dollar.

Source:  Adam Walser, “Counterfeit MAC makeup prevalent in Bay area,” ABC Action News, November 21, 2013.

Between 2001 and 2011, Chinese fishing boats caught an estimated 3.1 million tonnes of fish off the coast of Africa. 80 percent of the catch was unreported and fell under the illegal fishing framework.

The catch from Africa makes up most of the 4.6 million tons of fish that were caught by Chinese vessels between the time period. During the ten year span, the value of the fish was worth $12 Billion.

In addition to Africa, boats from China are active in the waters off South Korea. 4,605 cases of illegal fishing by Chinese boats have been recorded by South Korean security services between 2003 and 2013.

Source:  Christina Larson. “China’s Illegal Fishing Expeditions Threaten World Waters,” Bloomberg Businessweek, November 19, 2013.