Opium War in Reverse

Not all Chinese hate foreigners, but whenever a spat of ant-foreign sentiment comes about, one of the common things cited, are the Opium Wars. In which, Britain, crazy for China’s tea, wanted to find a way to fix its trade deficit, and decided to import opium. As we all know, the Britain quickly fixed its trade imbalance with China, and then it was China that was having a trade deficit.

Well, now in the ever-increasing demand for abalone, South Africans are poaching abalone, and in return, they get crystal meth:

Under-resourced and undermanned, local environmental authorities are helpless to slow, let alone stop, the trade. Abalone is rarely consumed in South Africa, but it is a delicacy in the Far East. It can be bought at markets in Hong Kong and Shanghai, where it is sold openly on the streets. Unlike rhino horn or ivory, it enjoys no special international protection.

The poachers themselves are usually from poor coastal communities, where unemployment runs as high as 80%. They sell the abalone on to representatives of gangs based in Cape Town, South Africa’s second-largest city, and home to some of the most violent criminal organizations in the world.

The gangs hand the abalone to Chinese criminals, who pay not in cash but with crystal methamphetamine, imported from China, India and Pakistan. This is then cooked into a lethal local drug known as “tik”. Authorities here say at least 300,000 people use half a gram of tik a day – a demand of 150 kilograms daily that must be fed.


13=阝12=口 J=丁 (阿)
L=氵 Z=工 (江)
–1312JLZ (阿江)
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