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U.S. Department of State

Department Seal Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics
and Law Enforcement Affairs Rand Beers and Hong Kong Commissioner for Narcotics Clarie Lo

November 15, 1999

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Assistant Secretary Beers' Meeting With Hong Kong Commissioner Lo

On Monday, November 15, Assistant Secretary Rand Beers of the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) at the U.S. Department of State met with Hong Kong's Commissioner for Narcotics, Clarie Lo, and leading officials from the Department of Justice, the Customs and Excise Department, and the Police Department. INL leads the U.S. Government's interagency process that determines the composition of the Majors List, an annual listing of countries/economies that either produce or are transit points for illegal narcotics coming into the United States.

The high-level Hong Kong delegation visited the State Department to discuss why Hong Kong was on this year's Majors List as a drug-transit point and what Hong Kong could do to be taken off the list next year. Mr. Beers emphatically and unequivocally praised Hong Kong's counternarcotics efforts and the systems and procedures used to stop drug trafficking in and through Hong Kong. He said, "Hong Kong's counternarcotics efforts, especially the work of the Customs and Excise Department and the Police Department, are among the finest in the region. Your agencies are to be commended for their commitment to stopping the flow of illegal narcotics and for the extent to which they have cooperated with U.S. agencies to combat drugs."

Mr. Beers also explained that Hong Kong's close geographical proximity to areas where drugs are cultivated, as well as its well-developed commercial transport infrastructure, have historically made it a natural transit point for drugs moving from Southeast Asia to the U.S. For those reasons, Hong Kong remained on the list this year.

At the meeting Mr. Beers also reported that the U.S. is currently reexamining drug trafficking patterns between Southeast Asia and the United States. Mr. Beers said, "The U.S. Government is now gathering extensive data to clarify the amount of Southeast Asian heroin coming to the U.S. and the routes used by traffickers to ship heroin here. Once our study is completed, possibly next spring or summer, the U.S. Government will have a clearer picture of the connection between drug production and transport from Asia to the U.S." The study is expected to be completed before decisions are made on next year's Major's List. Mr. Beers indicated that the study will be a crucial element in next year's decisions concerning the countries/economies that stay on or are taken off the list. He assured the Hong Kong delegation that the decision concerning Hong Kong and all others currently on the Majors List will be thoroughly reevaluated in light of this new information.

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