by JULIE HA
Demonstrating its absolute, zero-tolerance policy for drug crimes, Chinese authorities this week executed two South Korean men convicted of trafficking drugs from North Korea.
The South Korean Foreign Ministry confirmed that the two citizens—a 53-year-old surnamed Kim and a 45-year-old surnamed Baek—were executed on Aug. 6, after being sentenced to death this past March by the Intermediate People’s Court in Baishan City, in Jilin Province, reported the Korean news site, The Hankyoreh.
Their crimes date back to 2011, when Kim was reportedly caught smuggling 14.8 kilograms of the methamphetamine, philopon, into China. Authorities said Baek purchased 12.3 kilograms of it.
Jilin Province, located in the northeastern part of China and sharing a border with North Korea, is notorious for drug trading between the two countries.
South Korean authorities apparently tried to appeal to the Chinese government to stop the executions, but to no avail. “The government provided all consular support starting from when the two men were caught,” said South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Noh Kwang-il, according to The Hankyoreh report. “After they were sentenced to death, the government also made requests at various levels to have the death penalty waived on humanitarian grounds.”
The executions were consistent with China’s harsh policy on drug offenders. Citizens from England, Japan and the Philippines have also been executed for drug offenses in the last five years, according to The Hankyoreh.
Another South Korean, arrested in the Shandong district in eastern China for drug smuggling in 2009, is currently awaiting execution, according to the International Business Times.