Beijing deploys chopper in anti-opium op

A helicopter was used for the first time June 13 to help local police hunt poppy plantations in suburban Beijing. The chooper was deployed around mountainous areas in Yanqing district, sending video images of the ground back to the headquarters. “If there is any poppy plantation in these areas, they will be easily discerned by police in the headquarters,” said Zhao Wenzhong, a senior officer with the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau.

No plantations were reported found in the first overflight. Zhao said the would eliminate any “dead corner” thanks to the copter’s height. “Some poppy growers, who plant poppies to make drugs, always choose the remote and sparsely populated areas at the border of Beijing and the neighboring Hebei province,” Zhao said.

Under Chinese law, growing more than 500 poppies is a crime. But several villages in suburban Beijing have a tradition of growing poppies, mostly for legal medicine purposes. (Xinhua, June 14)

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