The Illicit Distribution of Precursor Chemicals in China: A Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis


China has been marked as a source country from which large volumes of precursor chemicals are shipped to foreign drug markets for synthetic drug production. However, the basic patterns of illicit distribution remain unclear. Data from closed criminal cases were extracted from legal files to develop an objective understanding of illicit distribution patterns in China. The sample consisted of 534 illicit supply cases involving 1481 individuals, three groups of precursor chemicals and 102 chemical manufacturing companies. The offenders could be categorised as lower-class offenders, occupational offenders and corporate offenders based on their profiles and criminal behaviours. Significant differences between the three groups of offenders and their specific patterns of chemical supply suggest a diverse, dynamic and complex nationwide supply network. To better understand this phenomenon in China’s rapidly transitioning society, we provide a description of cultural, legal and political backgrounds, which may provide some explanations at the macro level.

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Except where otherwise noted, content in this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Published: 2019-05-07
Pages:106 to 120
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How to Cite
Zhao, M. (2019) “The Illicit Distribution of Precursor Chemicals in China: A Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 8(2), pp. 106-120. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.v8i2.1025.

Author Biography

Ghent University

Minqi Zhao is a PhD Researcher at the Institute for International Research on Criminal Policy, Ghent University