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Transnational Organized Crime in East Asia and the Pacific

A Threat Assessment

image of Transnational Organized Crime in East Asia and the Pacific
This regional assessment is broadly focused on transnational organized crime (including drug trafficking) issues and the linkages with development, governance and security in East Asia and the Pacific. This Report is intended to provide a more comprehensive and nuanced picture of contraband flows, criminal markets and their political, social and economic impacts on the regions in question. It will be a means to convene strategic dialogue on emerging transnational organized crime threats, and the recommendation it yields will be built back into policy analysis and programme development throughout the United Nations System, including at the regional and country levels.

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Trafficking of methamphetamines from Myanmar and China to the region

East Asia and the Pacific have a long history with methamphetamine. It was first synthesized in Japan, and it became available over-the-counter throughout the region in the 1950s and 1960s. When the sale of the pharmaceutical was suspended, a street version known as yaba or “crazy medicine” began to appear. The popularity of yaba has waxed and waned over the years, but by the late 1980s the illicit manufacture and use of yaba was expanding significantly in the region. This history may explain why consumption of pill-form methamphetamine retains its popularity in Southeast Asia, particularly in Thailand, more so than in other places around the world.

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