China Security Threats

Data and information about security threats from China’s black market. Intelligence and security data collected from government agencies, news articles and other public information sources.

According to statistics released by state media, security services in China arrested nearly 60,000 people for violating intellectual property in 2013. The total estimated value of the counterfeits and fakes seized by China was $28 Billion (173 Billion Yuan).

Over 90 million tons of counterfeit goods were seized by security services across China in 2013. Included in the seizures were 300 million counterfeit drug pills worth $360 Million.

1,260 organized crime gangs who were involved in counterfeiting were also broken up during the year.

Source:  Associated Press, “China Seized 60,000 Piracy Suspects Last Year,” ABC News, January 21, 2014.

According to wildlife charities, nearly 100 African elephants are killed each day by poachers. The poachers kill the elephants in order to cut off the elephant’s tusks. Ivory tusks with elaborate carvings on them can be sold for up to $3,000 per kilogram on the global black market.

70 percent of the demand for ivory is centered in China.

In 1980, there were 1.2 million elephants in Africa. At the start of 2014, due to poaching, wildlife officials estimate that there are around 500,000 elephants remaining.

(Prices of exotic animals for sale)

Source:  Sophie Brown and Susan Wang, “China crushes tons of illegal ivory,” CNN, January 6, 2014.

(See more information about elephant poaching.)

According to a report by the Congressional Executive Commission on China, up to $202 Billion in illicit funds is laundered through the casinos of Macau, a territory controlled by China. Up to 30 percent of all bets placed in Macau was estimated to have been illegally brought in to the country to be washed.

China places limits on the amount of money its citizens can carry in cash to Macau. On each trip,  a Chinese citizen can carry about $3,000 (20,000 Yuan), and up to $50,000 a year. In 2013, 17 million residents from mainland China visited Macau.

The average bet placed at a casino in Macau was at least $100.

(Additional money laundering examples.)

Source:  Jonathan Kaiman, “Macau is betting on a new kind of Chinese tourism,” Guardian, January 4, 2014.

 (More on laundering cash through betting machines.)


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.)

Despite 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.

Additional prostitution stats and prices available in our ebook:

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.

(More methamphetamine facts.)

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.