Amphetamines on defector similar to drugs seized in past

Kyodo News

Amphetamines found on a North Korean defector who arrived in Japan on a small wooden boat in June are similar in chemical makeup to larger amounts of contraband drugs seized by Japanese authorities in the past, police officials said Thursday.

Japanese police have categorized the amphetamines seized in seven smuggling cases from 1997 through May last year into three types based on their structure and other features. Each type is believed manufactured in a different place.

According to the National Police Agency, the younger son of a family of four defecting from North Korea was in possession of 0.685 gram of amphetamines. The National Research Institute of Police Science said the amphetamines were high in purity and similar to one of the three types confirmed earlier.

Japan has also confirmed that North Korean spy boats and freighters involved in the smuggling cases departed from three North Korean ports, including Chongjin on the northeastern coast.

The son told investigators the drug was for his personal use to prevent him from falling asleep while operating the boat. “It is possible that amphetamines are widely circulating in North Korea,” an NPA official said.

The family, a couple in their 50s and 60s and their two sons in their 20s and 30s, arrived in Aomori Prefecture on June 2 in a small open boat. They resettled in South Korea.