Southeast Asia





Although opium production dropped to a 10-year low, the "Golden Triangle" remains the principal source of the world’s opium, accounting for some 55 percent. An undetermined amount of Southeast Asian heroin reaches the United States.

  • China serves as a key destination and transshipment point for Burmese- produced heroin, and has likely equaled, if not surpassed Thailand as the main transit corridor for heroin exported from Burma. Opiates move overland from Burma, through southern China to Hong Kong, Macau, and other regional commercial air and maritime centers for forwarding to Australia, Taiwan, Europe, and North America via maritime and air means.
  • Although heroin trafficking through Thailand has dropped in recent years due to tighter border security, the country remains a principal transit corridor and market for Burmese heroin and opium. Heroin moves overland through northern Thailand to Bangkok and southern Thailand for export by air and maritime conveyances.
  • Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia have emerged as secondary transit zones and markets for Burmese heroin and opium. While most Lao-produced heroin appears to be consumed domestically, Burmese heroin flows overland through Laos to China and Vietnam for local use and transshipment overseas.
  • Southeast Asian heroin and opium are smuggled to Australia from the Golden Triangle and China by commercial and noncommercial maritime means, as well as by couriers on scheduled flights.
  • Although most illicit heroin consumed in India originates in Afghanistan or Pakistan, a small percentage of Burmese heroin and opium moves westward by vehicle, river, and foot to India and Bangladesh, primarily for domestic use.
  • Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore have emerged as both a market and transit routes for heroin destined for Europe, Australia, and the United States. Nigerian and other African trafficking groups based in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore use couriers to smuggle 1- to 2-kilogram quantities on scheduled flights to Europe and North America.
  • While not major consumers of heroin, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea’s advanced transportation infrastructure and large-scale trade volume all serve as potential transit routes for Southeast Asian heroin destined for North America and Europe.
  • Most Southeast Asian heroin is imported into North America and Western Europe in maritime containers, primarily via major shipping centers. Smaller amounts are brought to consuming nations by individual couriers on commercial flights.

Historical Document
Posted: May 04, 2007 05:31 PM
Last Updated: May 27, 2014 11:45 AM