Search

 

Cablegate: 2004 International Narcotics Control Strategy

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 32 HANOI 003356

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR INL/AAE, EAP/BCLTV, L/LEI
JUSTICE FOR OIA, AFMLS, NDDS
TREASURY FOR FINCEN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR PREL PGOV ASEC EFIN KCRM SOCI VM CNARC HIV AIDS
SUBJECT: 2004 INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS CONTROL STRATEGY
REPORT (INCSR) - VIETNAM

REFS: A. HANOI 663; B. HANOI 1584; C. HANOI 1587; D. HANOI
2284

I. SUMMARY

1. (SBU) The Government of Vietnam (GVN) continued to make
progress in its counternarcotics efforts during 2004.
Specific actions included: sustained efforts of
counternarcotics law enforcement authorities to pursue drug
traffickers; increased attention to interagency
coordination; continued cooperation with the United Nations
Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); increased attention to
both drug treatment and harm reduction and new programs to
support recovered drug addicts and reduce the relapse rate;
an increased tempo of public awareness activities; and
additional bilateral cooperation on HIV/AIDS, an issue
closely related to intravenous drug use in Vietnam.
Additionally, in March, the counternarcotics Letter of
Agreement (LOA) between the GVN and the USG entered into
force, and the two sides initiated and completed the first
of the planned LOA projects. However, real operational
cooperation with DEA's Hanoi Country Office (HCO) was
minimal. Bilateral interaction is increasing as more LOA
projects come online, but the GVN's operational cooperation
with U.S. law enforcement, the DEA Hanoi Country Office
(HCO) in particular, remains minimal. Drug use in Vietnam,
including both heroin and amphetamine type stimulants (ATS)
continues to be a problem. Money-laundering issues will be
addressed septel.

2. (U) Vietnam is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention,
the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972
Protocol and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic
Substances. End Summary.

II. STATUS OF COUNTRY

3. (SBU) By USG definition, Vietnam meets the legislative
criteria as a "major drug-producing" country (at least 1,000
hectares of poppy cultivation). However, GVN, UNODC and law
enforcement officials do not consider cultivation a major
problem. The official USG estimate that 2,300 hectares of
poppy are cultivated in the northern and western provinces
of Lai Chau, Son La and Nghe An is based on a year 2000 USG
imagery-based survey. The USG has not updated the 2000
survey and we cannot independently verify whether the year
2000 figure is still accurate. The GVN claims a much lower
figure (32.5 hectares). Due to the small amount of poppy
cultivation, since year 2000 official UNODC statistical
tables for illicit cultivation ceased to list Vietnam
separately; rather, the table considers Vietnam within the
category of "other Asian countries." Cultivation in Vietnam
probably accounts for about one percent of cultivation in
Southeast Asia, according to a law enforcement estimate; DEA
has no evidence of any Vietnamese-produced narcotics
reaching the United States. There appear to be small
amounts of cannabis grown in remote regions of southern
Vietnam. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that there may be
larger commercial crops of hemp in remote regions in the
south.

4. (SBU) Vietnam has not been considered a source or
transit country for precursors. According to DEA, Vietnam
is exporting relatively large quantities of sassafras oil, a
substance which has legitimate uses (for insecticides, soap
and perfume) but which can also be used as a precursor for
the hallucinogen methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA). DEA
has in the past received reports that Vietnam-sourced
sassafras oil has been connected to European MDMA
production. Overall, the GVN is concerned in general about
precursors and has begun to take action. On May 29, 2003,
the GVN issued Decree 58, which deals with the control of,
import, export and transit of drug substances, precursors,
addictive drugs, and psychotropic substances. According to
the decree, only businesses authorized by the Ministries of
Health (MOH), Industry and Public Security (MPS) can
import/export drug substances, precursors, addictive drugs
and psychotropic substances for specific legal purposes.
The GVN has tasked MPS to coordinate with other concerned
ministries and agencies to manage and control the
import/export of these narcotic substances. In an effort to
support Vietnam's efforts to enhance its precursor control
capacity, the GVN and UNODC signed on December 1, 2003, a
project document titled "Interdiction and Seizure Capacity
Building with Special Emphasis on ATS and Precursors."
Implementation of that project began in 2004 and is
continuing successfully.

5. (SBU) Heroin from the Golden Triangle and China transits
Vietnam en route to Taiwan, Hong Kong and, increasingly,
Australia. While UNODC views China more as a source of
heroin and, increasingly, of tranquilizers used to cut
heroin for domestic use in Vietnam, China is probably also a
destination for some Golden Triangle heroin transiting
Vietnam. DEA has not yet tied any drug seizures in the
United States directly to Vietnam, but reports that some may
be entering the United States via Canada. Concerning
Australia, there were several courier seizures of heroin
destined for Australia, demonstrating that Australia may be
the preferred destination for heroin transiting Vietnam.
(Note: See Drug Flow/Transit section below for more details.
End note.)

6. (SBU) During 2004, large amounts of cannabis, heroin and
synthetic drugs entered Vietnam from Cambodia. Regarding
ATS, GVN authorities are particularly concerned about rising
use among urban youth and, during 2004, increased the tempo
of enforcement and awareness programs that they hope will
avoid a youth epidemic situation similar to what has
occurred in Thailand. According to the Standing Office of
Drug Control (SODC), ATS and ecstasy (MDMA) are still
popular among the youth addict population, in addition to
the ever-rising demand for heroin. (Note: According to
DEA, these drugs may be methamphetamines rather than MDMA.
End Note.)

III. COUNTRY ACTIONS AGAINST DRUGS IN 2004

Policy initiatives
------------------

7. (U) The structure of the GVN's counternarcotics efforts
is built around the National Committee on AIDS, Drugs and
Prostitution Control (NCADP). Deputy Prime Minister Pham
Gia Khiem chairs NCADP, which includes a broad spectrum of
GVN ministries and mass organizations. Key officials
include four deputy chairpersons: Minister of Public
Security Le Hong Anh; Minister of Labor, War Invalids and
Social Affairs (MOLISA) Nguyen Thi Hang; Minister of Health
Tran Thi Trung Chien; and Ha Thi Lien, Standing Member of
the Presidium of the Fatherland Front. In addition, MPS has
a specialized unit to combat and suppress drug crimes.
During the year, MPS established a medico-biology testing
center in the Institute for Forensics Sciences in Hanoi.

8. (SBU) According to UNODC, during 2004 the GVN continued
to focus on the drug issue, which included an increase in
attention from the state-controlled media. SODC reported
that in accordance with GVN strategic plans, GVN officials,
without foreign donor support, initiated 17 training courses
for 400 counternarcotics-related personnel. During the
year, the GVN organized study missions overseas and sent 26
drug delegations to international seminars and conferences.
In addition, Vietnam hosted 32 international delegations.

9. (U) General Le The Tiem, Vice Minister of Public
Security, said at a review conference in March that, in
addition to national programs and projects, provinces and
cities have implemented their own programs. Some examples
are Tuyen Quang with its effective "three stages" treatment
model, Nghe An with the goal of "demand reduction," Ho Chi
Minh City with its "three reductions" program, Hanoi with
its "Enter each lane and knock each door for drug addicts"
program, Danang with its "five nos" program and Yen Bai, Son
La, Lao Cai and Ha Giang with their "three nos" programs.

10. (U) Increasing efforts to support drug awareness and
prevention, demand reduction, and treatment of drug users
and addicts are reflected in the following:

-- The GVN views drug awareness and prevention as a
significant objective in its fight against drugs as well as
an integral part of its effort to comply fully with the 1988
UN Drug Convention. The GVN has continued to rely heavily
on anti-drug propaganda, culminating in the annual drug
awareness week in June. This year, youth and mass
organizations engaged in various activities to spread the
anti-drug message. These included art contests and
performances, speeches, street parades, displays of
posters/slogans and the signing of "drug free" commitments
and meetings/gatherings. Recently, state-controlled
television (VTV) and radio (the Voice of Vietnam) have begun
regular programs called "SOS Drugs" and have been airing a
series of anti-heroin spots.

-- Authorities also strengthened implementation of the
community effort called "Search in each lane and knock on
each door drug addicts" by volunteers in Hanoi. In a
December 2003 event, Vietnam Radio Corporation and SODC
organized a ceremony to award prizes to the winners of the
"anti-drug soap opera writing competition" for transmission
on the Voice of Vietnam's radio program. During the year,
SODC has also helped with another contest titled "The Entire
Nation Unites to Prevent and Combat Drug Crimes." In June
2001, Prime Minister Khai declared June 26 to be Drug
Awareness Day, and June to be Anti-drug Month.

-- On the occasion of 2004 Drug Awareness Day, various
activities took place across the country:
In Hanoi, Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem, along with
the Minister of Health, the Vice Minister of Public
Security, the Vice Minister of Education and Training and
representatives from mass organizations, civil associations
and the UNODC Country Office attended a large rally on June
26. Around 5,000 students from 29 universities and colleges
in Hanoi, with the message "say no to drugs," attended the
meeting. Deputy Prime Minister Khiem stressed that the
Government would "mobilize the entire political system and
nation to prevent and combat the scourge of drugs."
Meanwhile, in Thai Nguyen Province, about 1,000 government
workers took part in a street parade. Mr. Do Duc Ngo, Vice
President of the General Labor Confederation, Major General
Pham Van Duc, Deputy Director General of the General
Department of Police and Mr. Nguyen Thanh Kinh, Vice
Chairman of the Thai Nguyen Party Committee and Chairman of
the Thai Nguyen Provincial People's Council, attended the
event. The leaders called on authorities at all levels to
pay more attention to the drug fight among government
workers. On this occasion, the leaders sent the
participants the message: "Do not discriminate against
addicts, be with them and educate and help them to stabilize
their lives, quit drugs and return to normal life."
Simultaneously, in Ha Tay Province, more than 1,000 youth
union members gathered at a large awareness meeting in Son
Tay town. During the day, all union members signed anti-
drug commitments and distributed leaflets. The province now
has 86 anti-drug clubs, 400 anti-criminal mailboxes (for
residents to report crimes such as drug use) and 20 "friends
help friends" clubs. In Danang, the city youth union held a
festival with the message: "Danang youth together push back
drug crimes and social evils." According to Mr. Nguyen
Thanh Quang, president of Danang youth union, 800 members
attended the event. Similar events are carried out in other
provinces and cities each year during "Anti-drug Month."

-- Working together, two famous photographers opened an
exhibition of 500 photos featuring drug addiction and
treatment. Separately, the Voice of Vietnam launched a
competition for short stories about drug abuse. To
highlight the "humanity" of drug users, VTV transmitted an
exclusive program of addicts' music and dance festivals,
sports and games in several drug treatment centers. To
facilitate the nation's propaganda campaign, the Youth Union
dispatched volunteers on a five-day mission to different
drug treatment centers to disseminate anti-drug information
and support recovering drug addicts. Also, directors from
education and training departments in Hanoi, neighboring
provinces and five universities signed a resolution on drug
abuse prevention in all educational institutions.
Additionally, all of Danang University's youth union members
and students signed non-drug use commitments.

-- This year, according to Bui Xuan Hieu, Director of the
International Cooperation and Project Management Division in
the Standing Office for Drug Control (SODC) of the National
Committee for HIV/AIDS, Drugs Control and Social Evils
Prevention, SODC coordinated various counternarcotics
activities throughout the country. Hieu claimed that Anti-
drug Month draws the attention of the public and community
leaders and "brings about big law enforcement results."

Ho Chi Minh City:

According to the "People's Police" newspaper, on June 3 Ho
Chi Minh City counternarcotics police arrested twenty
members of a drug ring. The police seized 20.3 kilograms of
heroin, USD 57,770, 14 motorbikes, 16 mobile phones, one car
and six houses. The ring trafficked heroin from Nghe An
Province to Ho Chi Minh City for distribution to "sales
agents." According to Colonel Le Thanh Liem, Ho Chi Minh
City Police Department, this is a "big ring" that has
trafficked heroin from border provinces to the city for
consumption. The bust had such an effect on supply that the
retail price doubled, noted Colonel Liem.

In another case, on June 16 Ho Chi Minh City Supreme
People's Court handed down nine death sentences, one life
sentence and other lengthy sentences to drug organization
head Ngo Duc Minh and his accomplices. The defendants were
convicted of trafficking about 36 kilograms of heroin, 50
kilograms of cannabis, 6,000 Ecstasy tablets and 15
kilograms of synthetic drugs between 1993 and 2002.
According to press reports, this was a transnational case
connecting Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan and the Netherlands.

Additionally, the Ho Chi Minh City People's Court tried an
ATS case in early May. Chung Quoc Minh was sentenced to
death, and 20 other accomplices also stood trial. According
to police investigation records, between 1999 and 2001,
Chung's organization trafficked 14,200 ATS tablets. The
Labor newspaper reported that this was Vietnam's largest
ever ATS case.

Tay Ninh:

During a "first instance" trial (i.e., subject to appeal),
Tay Ninh's People's Court handed down six death and three
life sentences on June 18 in a transnational drug case,
according to press reports. The offenders were convicted of
trafficking drugs across the border with Cambodia. The
initial seizure on May 28 was 3.3 kilograms of heroin.
Between June 2001 and May 2004, the syndicate trafficked
103.5 kilograms of heroin and 606 ecstasy tablets.
According to press reports, this was the biggest drug case
in the province. Tay Ninh is considered one of Vietnam's
drug "hotspots" due to its location on the border with
Cambodia and the relative ease with which goods, including
narcotics, are smuggled there.

Quang Binh

Police said that they arrested eight people for trafficking
79.6 kilograms of heroin into the country from Laos. The
seizure was made on June 26 after the police stopped two
trucks at Cha Lo international border gate in Quang Binh
Province, said a local counternarcotics policeman. Two
drivers, Hoang Van Tinh and Nguyen Van Duyet, and six
passengers were arrested. The drugs were hidden among
smuggled automobile spare parts, fabric, toys and scrap
metal. Police also seized a large amount of cash in US
dollars, Vietnamese dong, Lao kip and Thai baht, in addition
to a loaded handgun. This was the biggest seizure ever in
Quang Binh, according to SODC.

Nghe An

Colonel Vo Trong Thanh, Deputy Director of Nghe An Police
Department, revealed on June 12 that the provincial
counternarcotics police arrested 11 drug traffickers,
including four foreigners, and seized seven kilograms of
heroin in a transnational network headquartered in Laos.
According to Colonel Thanh, the offenders had trafficked
approximately 88 kilograms before they were caught. The
"People's Police" Newspaper ranks this transnational drug
case as the most important in Vietnam because of the
cumulative volume of trafficked narcotics. In the first six
months of 2004, Nghe An provincial counternarcotics police
detected 290 cases with 349 offenders and seized 23.892
kilograms of heroin, 12.556 kilograms of opium and about
5,000 ATS tablets.

Son La

According to Vietnam News Agency (VNA), on June 7 the
provincial police cracked a major drug case in the
Northwestern province of Son La. This is the biggest haul
in the province since early this year. Police arrested two
offenders and seized about 3.1 kilograms of heroin in Tan
Phong commune, Phu Yen district. The two traffickers are
Tran Van Kien, 29, and Tran Quang Thang, 35, from Hanoi.
Provincial police and the Ministry of Public Security are
further investigating the case. Earlier, provincial police
seized two kilograms of heroin in two separate smaller
cases. In the first two months of 2004, Son La provincial
police arrested 215 drug traffickers in 85 cases, seized 3.7
kilograms of heroin, 6.6 kilograms of opium and 1,677 ATS
tablets and confiscated other equipment. According to SODC,
Son La is another of Vietnam's hotspots. Drugs come in
through the border with Laos and travel down Highway 6 (AKA
"the Heroin Highway") to Hanoi and other destinations for
consumption.

Haiphong

Between July 12 and 20, the Haiphong People's Court tried
the city's biggest ever drug case, according to the
"People's Police" newspaper. The newspaper reported that 20
out of 23 suspects standing trial could be sentenced to
death. The first member of the gang was arrested on April
30, 2003, in Le Chan district, Haiphong City. Before their
arrest, the suspects had trafficked about 30 kilograms of
heroin, newspaper reports said.

Phu Tho

Recently, Phu Tho police, in coordination with their
counterparts in Son La province, uncovered a huge drug case.
According to press reports, Phu Tho police arrested Kim Van
Phuong in November 2003 on his way from Son La to Hanoi and
seized 1.3 kilograms of heroin and 1.3 kilograms of opium.
Using information from this first suspect, in July 2004 the
police made 23 more arrests. The suspects confessed to
trafficking about 30 kilograms of heroin through seven
provinces and cities, press reports said. In addition, the
police confiscated seven cars, USD 45,000 and nine mobile
phones. Currently, Phu Tho police are coordinating with the
counternarcotics police of the Ministry of Public Security
to expand the case.

11. (U) In December 2000, the National Assembly passed a
national law on drug suppression and prevention. The law
came into effect June 1, 2001. As of March 2004, there were
11 implementing decrees. The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) was
tasked with working with the MPS and other relevant agencies
to review existing counternarcotics legal documents and make
appropriate amendments to facilitate implementation of the
new law. The UNODC is assisting the GVN to develop these
implementing regulations for the new law, which will allow
law enforcement authorities to use techniques such as
controlled deliveries, informants and undercover officers.
The 11 implementing decrees:

-- list the narcotic substances and precursors;
-- guide the control of lawful drug-related activities in
Vietnam;
-- stipulate the rehabilitation order, procedures and
regimes for drug addicts consigned to compulsory
rehabilitation centers;
-- designate family organization and community-based
rehabilitation; and,
-- prescribe the regime of compensation and allowances for
individuals, families, agencies and organizations suffering
life, health and property damage while participating in drug
prevention activities.
-- stipulate the rewards and commendations for individuals,
families, agencies and organizations recording achievements
in drug prevention;
-- assign responsibility on international cooperation in the
field of drug prevention;
-- add a number of substances to the list of narcotics and
precursors; and,
-- regulate the control of import, export and transit
transportation of illicit drugs, precursors, narcotic drugs
and psychotropic substances.

Another key decree, concerning law enforcement, has
apparently been issued, but according to an MPS official, it
has not been made public due to its "sensitivity." During
2004, the GVN also issued one more decree to extend the
duration for treatment stay (Note: This decree serves as a
legal instrument for implementing the pilot program
initiated by Ho Chi Minh City. End Note.)

12. (SBU) However, a preliminary analysis by a UNODC legal
official concluded that the decrees are "insufficient in
terms of establishing a proper drug control legal system,"
however. The decrees tend to focus on drug control areas,
which are "generally less complex and controversial," the
official added. There is still a need for "new and proper"
legal instruments in areas such as procedures, conditions,
systems for investigations, international cooperation,
extradition, controlled delivery and maritime cooperation,
according to the analysis. According to a senior drug
treatment policy maker, on December 2 the Prime Minister
issued a decree on the conditions for the private sector to
run treatment centers, and by June 10, 2004, the GVN issued
decree 135 to replace Decree 34, in line with the Ordinance
on Administration.

13. (U) NCADP organized a conference to review the three-
year implementation of the national drug control action plan
for the years 2001 - 2005 in Hanoi March 22 - 23.
Participants at the conference stated that drug crimes are
on the rise. 39,866 drug cases were discovered (an increase
of 9,500 cases compared to 1998 - 2000) and 64,743 suspects
were arrested. Drug seizure data showed a large increase in
both case-number and quantity. The drug addiction relapse
rate is still high, at about 70 percent. According to
official numbers released at the conference, there are
160,670 drug users nationwide with 80 treatment centers
providing treatment to over 40,000 drug addicts. Over the
past three years, almost 2,000 "complicated hotspots" were
destroyed such Thanh Nhan, Cong Vi in Hanoi, Cau Kho, Nguyen
Cu Trinh in HCMC, Thom Mon in Son La, Hung Long in Nghe An
and Na U in Dien Bien. Deputy Prime Minister Khiem
reaffirmed at the conference that it is the Politburo's
policy that Vietnam "mobilize the strength of the entire
political system in the drug fight."
14. (U) The GVN continued to move forward in developing its
long-term counternarcotics master plan, with the assistance
of several foreign donors, including the U.S. and UNODC.
The current 2001 - 2005 plan of action includes the
following 13 projects:

-- building the national master plan for drug control
through 2010;
-- strengthening the capacity of the national coordinating
counternarcotics agency;
-- implementing crop substitution programs in Ky Son
District, Nghe An Province;
-- strengthening the capacity to collect and use drug
information;
-- strengthening the capacity to prevent and arrest drug
criminals;
-- building and completing a counternarcotics legal system;
-- educating students on drug awareness and prevention;
-- strengthening drug prevention activities in Vietnam;
-- preventing drug abuse among workers;
-- strengthening the capacity to treat and rehabilitate
addicts;
-- preventing drug use among street children;
-- reducing the demand among ethnic people; and,
-- preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS among addicts through
demand reduction intervention.

15. (U) According to SODC, almost all of the projects are
ongoing with either foreign or domestic funding. SODC
officials claimed that the master plan until 2010 is
awaiting the Prime Minister's approval. However, while they
had expected the plan to be finalized by late 2003 or early
2004, it did not happen. SODC has also received support in
the form of computers and a network from the British
Government. SODC also expressed satisfaction with the
effective implementation of the (partially USG funded) Ky
Son project (Phase II) and the initial implementation of the
U.S.-funded "G-55" project titled "Interdiction and Seizure
Capacity Building with Special Emphasis and ATS and
Precursors" between MPS and UNODC. One of the main outcomes
of the project is the establishment of six interagency
counter-drug enforcement task force units in six border
"hotspot" areas. The establishment of these task forces
represented a high mark in the (normally weak) interagency
cooperation process among Vietnamese security forces.

16. (U) During the G55 launching ceremony, Colonel Vuong,
Director of MPS unit C-17 (the main counternarcotics unit)
said that the implementing agencies include: the MPS' C-17;
the Anti-smuggling Department of the General Department of
Customs; and the Surveillance Department of the Vietnam
Border Army. Each task force unit has ten officers, who
started work on June 1, the Colonel said. Out of that
number, six are expected to come from the police, two from
Customs and two from the Border Army. The police, however,
will take the lead in running the program and will keep
these units working after the project ends, Colonel Vuong
promised. Colonel Vuong said separately that Vietnam and
UNODC chose these six provinces because they are areas where
drug trafficking has escalated and where there is a high
flow of ATS trafficked across the border.

17. (U) On this occasion, Colonel Vuong provided a 15-item
checklist for the joint task force units' first year,
including:

-- Employment of a national technical officer and an
administrative assistant for the national project office;
-- Establishment of the project office and the steering
board;
-- Equipment needs assessment;
-- Seminar on the establishment of six task force units,
including procedures and policy for the implementing
agencies;
-- Building of a mechanism to give instructions by C-17,
Anti-smuggling Department and the Surveillance Department;
-- Setting up a reporting system for the units;
-- Seminar on procedures/cooperation mechanism between the
units and the drug testing laboratories;
-- Building up contact and coordination between the units
and the drug testing laboratories;
-- Procurement of equipment for the units;
-- Training on the use of equipment;
-- Training and equipment needs assessment for the testing
laboratories;
-- Procurement of equipment for the laboratories;
-- Training on the use of equipment;
-- Setting up an information gathering system for the
units; and,
-- Preparation of training materials

UNODC officials confirmed that all of the goals and
objectives on the list, with the exception of the
preparation of training materials, have been completed.
Mission officers visited G55 task force units in An Giang
and Lang Son Provinces, and confirmed that they are
operational. Some of the units elsewhere have had major
successes:

According to press reports, The G55 task force unit in Son
La province discovered five major drug cases, arrested nine
traffickers and seized eight kilograms of heroin on July 16,
17 and 18, 2004.


18. (U) According to reports during the March NCADP
conference, over the past three years, the state budget for
drug control reached around USD 16 million. In addition,
USD 50 million was taken from local budgets, out of which Ho
Chi Minh City allocated USD 37 million for its drug
treatment program. As in past years, observers agreed that
overall lack of resources continued to be a major constraint
in counternarcotics activities.

19. (U) In 2004, Vietnam continued its efforts in regional
and multilateral law enforcement coordination, a key element
towards full compliance with the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
Vietnam has existing agreements and MOUs with China, Burma,
Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Hungary and Russia. On November
16 - 19, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia met in Phnom Penh to
review their cooperation in 2004 and work out cooperative
measures for the coming year. Police General Le The Tiem,
Vietnamese Vice Minister of Public Security, said during the
meeting that drug trafficking across the border has come
"complicated." General Tiem urged the participating
countries to consider signing "many more" counternarcotics
agreements at the sub-regional and global levels. Tiem also
wished for closer working ties and support among the three
nations.

20. (U) Vietnam continued to cooperate with INTERPOL during
2004. Much of this cooperation involved assisting
authorities from Canada, Germany and Australia to
investigate drug trafficking cases between overseas
Vietnamese and criminal organizations located in Vietnam.
All international law enforcement representatives in
Vietnam, however, acknowledged that real operational
cooperation on counternarcotics cases is minimal or
nonexistent due to legal prohibitions against foreign
security personnel operating on Vietnamese soil. Without
changes in Vietnamese law to permit foreign law enforcement
officers to work on drug cases in Vietnam, "cooperation"
will remain a function of information exchange and
Vietnamese police carrying out law enforcement activities on
behalf of foreign agencies on a case by case basis.

21. (U) Multilaterally, Vietnam continued to work closely
with UNODC. In 2002, the GVN assumed management
responsibility for the second phase of the crop substitution
project in Ky Son, Nghe An Province, which will be due by
December 21, 2004. In addition, Vietnam continued to
participate in a UNODC sub-regional project for
strengthening cross border coordination with its neighbors,
as part of the action plan mentioned in Paragraph 14.

22. (SBU) During 2004, DEA's Hanoi Country office and
Embassy Hanoi reported that, despite repeated statements
affirming that law enforcement cooperation is a key
component of the drug war, GVN law enforcement authorities,
especially the counternarcotics police, did not provide
meaningful cooperation to DEA's Hanoi country office. In
addition, DEA reported that, due to existing MPS policies,
DEA agents have not been permitted officially to work with
GVN counternarcotics investigators. Generally, cooperation
was limited to receiving information from DEA and holding
occasional meetings. Thus far, the counternarcotics police
have declined to share information with DEA or cooperate
operationally. GVN officials generally classify drug
information as "sec-ret," subject to national security
regulations, and explain this as the main reason for their
inability to cooperate more fully with DEA. Even with new
"implementing regulations" to buttress the 2001 law,
Counternarcotics Department (CND) and other drug enforcement
agencies remain limited in what they can achieve in their
investigations and the impact they can make on the drug
trade in Vietnam. CND officers target mostly low-level drug
distributors who remain within the narrow grasp of their
authority and investigative capability. Unfortunately, even
well-intentioned CND officers may not act independently when
conducting investigations and utilizing their authority.
According to the DEA, the GVN needs to update and relax its
restrictive polices regarding the exchange of drug related
information with foreign agencies, so that real law
enforcement cooperation can occur in Vietnam. To date,
there has been nothing concrete to indicate that the GVN has
any intention of taking the necessary administrative or
legislative steps to permit DEA to expand beyond its current
liaison role.

23. (SBU) More positively, in March the GVN made some final
changes that allowed the entry into force of the letter of
agreement on counternarcotics activities between the United
States and Vietnam. The first project under the LOA, a
training course for counternarcotics police and customs
officers from all over Vietnam, occurred in Hanoi in August.
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents who taught the course
reported that it had an effect immediately; one of the
inspectors who received the training discovered an Australia-
bound heroin courier using the new search techniques he had
learned in the training the week before. In 2004, the
Embassy and SODC cooperated on advance work for DEA and U.S.
Department of Justice training courses under the LOA.

Accomplishments
---------------


24. (U) At an event during the June Drug Awareness Month,
Deputy Prime Minister Khiem stressed that the Government
would "mobilize the entire political system and nation to
prevent and combat the scourge of drugs."

25. (U) SODC and other international interlocutors highly
assessed the importance in 2004 of the establishment of the
Department of Crime Statistics in the Supreme People's
Procuracy in the fight against drugs (as well as towards
Vietnam's full compliance with the 1988 UN Drug Convention).
The Department, while still finding its appropriate role,
has improved the collection and sharing of crime statistics.

Law enforcement efforts
-----------------------

26. (U) The GVN continued a policy of strict punishment for
drug offenses. Seizures of opium, heroin, and amphetamine-
type stimulants (ATS) increased during the reporting period.
The GVN has continued to arrest and prosecute drug
traffickers in 2004. According to GVN statistics, during
the first six months of calendar year 2004, there were 5,376
drug cases involving 8,484 traffickers with larger amounts
of heroin and synthetic drugs seized. Total seizures
include 100.3 kilograms of heroin, 53.3 kilograms of opium,
622.7 kilograms of cannabis, 23,902 methamphetamine tablets
and 4,128 ampoules of addictive pharmaceuticals and other
substances. 30 percent of the suspects and 34 percent of
the cases were reported in border provinces. Ho Chi Minh
City and Hanoi remain the country's major hotspots for drug
trafficking and consumption. According to one press report,
between January and April, Vietnam executed 14 prisoners,
handed down 25 death sentences and upheld 22 death penalties
in appeals courts, mostly for narcotics crimes and murders.

27. (U) Drug laws remain very tough in Vietnam. Possession
of 100 grams of heroin or five kilograms of opium gum or
cannabis resin or 75 kilograms of cannabis or opium plants
may result in the death penalty. For possession or
trafficking of 600 grams or more of heroin, death by a seven-
man firing squad is "mandatory," according to another press
report. Despite the tough laws, SODC reported again in
2004, "drug trafficking continues to rise."

28. (SBU) During the year, Embassy Hanoi reported several
large drug cases.

-- One major case occurred in the northwest "drug hotspot"
of Lai Chau Province. According to the "People's Police"
newspaper, Lai Chau counternarcotics police first detected
the case in September 2001. Several suspects, in an attempt
to escape arrest, murdered an undercover police lieutenant.
Three suspects were eventually arrested; two received death
sentences in June 2002 for the police officer's murder.
Subsequently, 27 accomplices were arrested; 24 stood trial
in Lai Chau in March 2003. On March 14, Lai Chau People's
Court handed down four additional death sentences, eleven
life sentences and seven other long prison sentences. These
defendants were convicted of trafficking about 90 kilograms
of heroin over the past seven years from Laos via the Tay
Trang border area, through Lai Chau Province, and on to
Hanoi and Thanh Hoa Province (about 100 miles south of
Hanoi).

-- In another case, police in Tien Giang Province in
coordination with the Ministry of Public Security (MPS)
arrested Ngo Xuan Phuong, Ngo Duc Minh and 9 other members
of a drug trafficking ring in May 2002. On February 23, 11
stood trial in Ho Chi Minh City. The Ho Chi Minh City
People's Court handed down four death sentences, four life
sentences, and three other long prison sentences. These
eleven defendants were convicted of trafficking about 39
kilograms of heroin, 50 kilograms of cannabis, 15 kilograms
of synthetic drugs and 6,000 ATS tablets over the past ten
years between Laos and Cambodia and on to Vietnam and Japan
for consumption. They also bought ecstasy tablets in the
Netherlands to sell in Ho Chi Minh City, according to press
reporting.

-- According to SODC, because of the trans-national
activities of the syndicate, the case was "very serious."
They noted that while the trial was underway in Ho Chi Minh
City, police in the provinces of Nghe An and Danang had made
additional large seizures and arrests. In Nghe An, a
province that sits astride a trade route to Laos, the police
arrested ten suspects and seized approximately seven
kilograms of heroin. According to the traffickers' initial
confessions, the offenders had already trafficked about 87.5
kilograms of heroin. This was described as the largest
cross-border case ever. Simultaneously, Danang witnessed an
arrest in the "biggest case ever recorded in Danang",
according to police. Searching the home of offender Nguyen
Quoc Viet, the police seized six kilograms of heroin. These
two cases are still under investigation, according to press
reports.

-- Also, in the first two months of 2004, Son La provincial
police arrested 215 suspects in 85 separate narcotics cases,
and seized 3.7 kilograms of heroin, 6.6 kilograms of opium
and a large quantity of ATS. (Note: The large number of
cases and the relatively small amounts of heroin and opium
indicates that many of these arrests were of users and low-
level dealers rather than large traffickers. UNODC has
identified Son La as a province with a severe drug use
problem, especially in the ethnic Hmong community. End
note.)

Despite these high-profile cases, lack of training,
resources and experience both among law enforcement and
judicial officials continues to plague Vietnamese counter
drug efforts, according to law enforcement sources and
UNODC.

29. (SBU) Foreign law enforcement sources do not believe
that major trafficking groups have moved into Vietnam.
Relatively small groups -- perhaps five to 15 individuals,
who are often related to each other -- usually do most
narcotics trafficking. As Vietnam becomes a more
"attractive" transit country, larger trafficking groups
could become more prominent, according to DEA.

30. (U) Resource constraints among GVN counternarcotics
police continued to be a major problem during 2004,
especially among provincial counternarcotics police. Even
SODC -- the national office for coordinating all
counternarcotics activities -- lacked a database computer
system until December 2002, when the British Government
provided this assistance. Embassy visits to Dien Bien, Lai
Chau, Long An and An Giang Provinces revealed that
counternarcotics police (and all local police) work with a
significant lack of resources, especially specialized
equipment. Officials in the Cambodian border province of An
Giang told emboffs that, in the rainy season, when the
border area floods enough to permit boat traffic over a
large body of water that forms over rice paddies along the
border, policing the border is nearly impossible because the
customs and border police have only a single boat.
Officials in these and other provinces have consistently
told emboffs that they would welcome additional equipment
and training.

31. (U) Vietnam also recorded some achievements in anti-drug
awareness campaigns in 2004. At a meeting to review the two
year implementation of Coordination Plan No. 969 between
Vietnam General Confederation of Labor (VGCL) and MPS, Vice
Minister of Public Security Le The Tiem said that 90 percent
of the provinces and cities had signed coordination plans to
assist the drug fight among government employees and
workers. As a result, 75 percent of the government
employees and workers had signed commitments to stay away
from drug and social evils. According to Vice Minister
Tiem, during the two-year period, hundreds of key personnel
from VGCL at central and local levels had received training
on awareness methods. The number of addicts who are
government employees and workers had reduced significantly
such as Hanoi from 634 to 55, Son La from 274 to 191, Cao
Bang from 106 to 45, Quang Ninh from 270 to 180, Tuyen Quang
from 109 to 29 and Yen Bai from 104 to 83. According to Mr.
Do Duc Ngo, VGCL's Vice Chairman and a member of NCADP, for
the 2004 - 2005 period, areas of concentration include:

-- Working on surveys and assessing the addiction
situation;
-- Establishing the inter-agency coordination plan;
-- Organizing seminars on treatment for employees and
workers;
-- Strengthening awareness activities;
-- Setting up counternarcotics units in business
establishments; and,
-- Investigating drug crimes and addiction among government
employees and workers.

Corruption
----------
32. (SBU) The GVN continued to focus on narcotics-related
corruption, making policy statements that made it clear that
corruption would not be tolerated and would be severely
punished, including the removal and prosecution of corrupt
officials. However, the UN, law enforcement agencies, and
even the GVN continue to view corruption in Vietnam as an
endemic problem that exists at all levels and in all
sectors. According to the World Economic Forum's growth
competitive index, Vietnam's corruption index ranks 97 out
of 104 countries in the world. Corruption is considered one
of the biggest problems impeding business in the country,
besides the inefficient administration system. The Vietnam
News Agency reported on February 26 that government
inspectors estimate that approximately USD 80 million, or
19.1 percent of the investment in 14 major infrastructure
projects, has been lost due to poor management and
corruption. About 515 government employees have been
disciplined by the GVN in various ways, and the police
continue to investigate seven others. According to the
"Phap Luat" (Legal) newspaper, the State Inspection Board
conducted 3,165 inspections in the first six months of 2004
leading to the discovery of economic offenses causing around
USD 25 million in losses to the State budget. 257
government cadres and public officials were subject to
administrative punishment and 29 were prosecuted. General
Cao Ngoc Oanh, Deputy General Director of the General Police
Department also reported in an interview by the Lao Dong
(Labor newspaper) that over the past ten years, 176,534
cases of economic crimes have been discovered, including
9,454 cases of embezzlement and corruption causing losses to
the State of approximately USD 800 million.

33. (U) In public statements, the GVN and CPV take a strong
stand against corruption in general, but have not singled
out narcotics-related corruption for specific attention.
Colonel Bui Xuan Bien, the director of SODC, has confirmed
that "any GVN official who violates laws about corruption"
would be prosecuted. In addition to the Nam Cam case in
2003 (ref A), there have recently been a number of other
corruption cases that brought down senior officials,
including the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.

-- In a March 2004 case, 26 Lang Son provincial customs
officials were sentenced to between two and 18 years in
prison for taking bribes at Tan Thanh international border
gate in Lang Son Province. The offenders were charged with
extorting more than USD 280,000 between June 2000 and June
2001 by falsifying customs documents claiming VAT refunds on
non-existent exported goods.

-- In a separate case, Tay Ninh police concluded the
investigation of a drug trafficking case at the Moc Bai
border checkpoint. 29 people will be prosecuted, including
six drug-runners for trafficking ATS concealed in a fruit-
box imported from Thailand and 23 customs officials for
"dereliction of duty causing serious consequences."

-- In another example, Nguyen Quang Thuong, Deputy Director
General of the state-owned oil and gas corporation
(PetroVietnam) was arrested on June 1 his for involvement in
falsifying documents for the purchase of equipment and
supplies that resulted in millions of dollars in losses to
the State budget. Police also arrested Duong Quoc Ha,
deputy director of Vietnam-Soviet Oil and Gas Joint Stock
Company (Vietsovpetro) on June 9. Ha was charged with
embezzlement of the company property and use of fake
contracts to build apartments worth USD 17 million.

-- Vietnam's state-controlled media also gave prominent
coverage to the La Thi Kim Oanh Case Oanh, a former official
of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, was
sentenced to death for misappropriating USD 4.9 million and
causing a loss of USD 2.2 million to the state budget; two
vice Ministers were found guilty of related charges,
although their sentences were suspended upon appeal.
Minister Le Huy Ngo, found partially responsible for the
Oanh case, was also dismissed.

-- In a drug-related corruption case, during a court trial
in Ho Chi Minh City in January, former police major Nguyen
Cong Trieu of the Ho Chi Minh City Police's Investigation
Division was given an eight year sentence for taking bribes
and fined USD 2,500, while former lawyer Phan Van Hai was
sentenced to three years in prison for acting as a middleman
for bribes and fined USD 2,000.

-- Most recently, former Vice Minister of Trade Mai Van Dau
was arrested for further investigation into claims over his
related corruption acts in connection with a scandal of
quota allocation for garment exports. Dau was relieved of
his post by a decision from the Prime Minister.

34. (U) Senior GVN officials continue to speak out against
corruption.

-- In January, Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) General
Secretary Nong Duc Manh said during the opening of the Party

SIPDIS
Central Committee's ninth Plenum that the CPV would "clarify
the causes of success and failure through specific reviews
while seeking ways to intensify the combat against
corruption, wasteful spending and bureaucracy."

-- After the May 2004 National Assembly Session, CPV General
Secretary Nong Duc Manh and NA Chairman Nguyen Van An

SIPDIS
reaffirmed the determination of the Communist Party and GVN
to tackle graft and corruption from the grass-roots level.

-- At a meeting in Hanoi on April 14, 2004 to review the
execution of the Politburo's resolution on key judicial
tasks, President Tran Duc Luong called for further judicial
reform to bolster the fight against criminal corruption.

-- In December 2003, Prime Minister Phan Van Khai confirmed
during the closing session of a ministerial meeting in Ho
Chi Minh City that administrative reform and the fight
against corruption were crucial issues that must be
addressed in 2004.

-- During a meeting in Hanoi in March, Phan Dien, Member of
the CPV's Politburo and Standing member of its Secretariat,
claimed that Vietnam had "deterred corruption although not
completely stopped it." Phan Dien admitted that combating
corruption is key to economic renovation.

-- Before the People's Council elections took place in
April, Pham The Duyet, President of the Vietnam Fatherland
Front, said that Vietnam planned to use the election to find
"new blood" to combat corruption and that the election
"should help develop a better state management system to
fight corruption."

-- At a seminar titled "Vietnam and the UN Convention on
Corruption" held November 11 in Hanoi, Chief State Inspector
Quach Quang Thanh stressed that Vietnam needs a national
anti-corruption strategy. According to Mr. Thanh,
corruption has negative impact on the country's political
system and trust from the people.

35. (U) At the international level, in December 2003 Vietnam
joined 94 other countries in signing the UN Convention
against Corruption at the international conference in
Merida, Mexico. Also, Vietnam became the 23rd country in
the region to endorse a regional anti-corruption action plan
at a meeting in Manila on July 5. The action plan,
initiated by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
in December 2000, is the region's forum for policy dialogue
and cooperation in the fight against corruption. Most
recently, voters throughout the nation have asked the
National Assembly to set up an anti-corruption agency to
help combat crime. The petitions came after the discovery
of numerous corruption cases that aroused public concern.
Citizens also asked the NA to pass and issue an anti-
corruption law as soon as possible, given the rising number
of corruption cases throughout the country. Arguments and
debates concerning corruption ignited among members of the
National Assembly during the most recent session.

36. (U) On May 21, Ho Chi Minh City's Municipal Court handed
down a 14 year prison sentence to Khuc Van Du, former staff
of Nhi Xuan drug treatment and rehabilitation center on
charges of trading illicit drugs and drug implements. Eight
drug addicts received jail terms between nine and 18 months
for illicit drug use.

37. (U) Vietnam does not encourage or facilitate illicit
production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs
or other controlled substances, or the laundering of
proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Recognizing the
need for more anti-corruption assistance, the GVN signed an
agreement with Sweden in September 2002 for research on
socio-economic policy and anti-corruption measures. Under
the USD 2.7 million project, scheduled to run from the end
of 2002 through 2005, Sweden will provide resources to
assist Vietnam in developing appropriate anti-corruption
policies. While the official agreement is with the Ministry
of Planning and Investment, the actual partner is the CPV
and, according to an official of the Swedish Development
Corporation, the program is "quite sensitive." A diagnostic
study on how to implement the program "should be started by
the end of the year."

38. (SBU) Embassy has no information linking any senior
official of the GVN with engaging in, encouraging or
facilitating the illicit production or distribution of such
drugs or substances, or the laundering of proceeds from
illegal drug transactions. Concerning narcotics-related
corruption, the GVN did demonstrate a willingness in 2004 to
prosecute officials, though the targets were relatively low-
level.

39. (U) According to UNODC, "narcotics-related corruption is
only a very small part of overall corruption." However,
significant levels of official corruption exist in Vietnam.
Both the GVN and the Communist Party have made combating
corruption one of their top priorities, and senior officials
have made unambiguous statements that not only must
officials not engage in corruption but also that they will
be held personally responsible for such wrongdoing by their
relatives and subordinates as well.

Agreements and treaties
-----------------------

40. (U) With the exception of the recently-signed
Counternarcotics LOA, the USG has no extradition, mutual
legal assistance or precursor chemical agreements with
Vietnam. The LOA includes three specific counternarcotics
training projects.

41. (U) Vietnam is a party to three UN Drug Control
Conventions, including the 1961 Single Convention on
Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic
Substances and the 1988 Convention Against Illicit
Trafficking in Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

42. (U) To further its compliance with the 1988 UN Drug
Convention, Vietnam moved ahead in 2004 to increase both
operational and formal cooperation with neighboring
countries, countries in the region and the world.

43. (U) Police General Le The Tiem, Vice Minister of Public
Security, led Vietnam's delegation to the first ASEAN
Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime with three
dialogue partners including China, Japan and Korea in
Bangkok on January 10. Vice Minister Tiem called for China,
Japan and Korea to support ASEAN member countries in the
fight against transnational crime. ASEAN and China also
signed an MOU on cooperation against non-conventional crimes
including drugs. Medium- and long-term objectives were set
forth for the cooperation action plan. Bilaterally,
according to Lao Cai Province's C17, between 1999 and 2004,
Lao Cai customs have entered into two anti-crime MOUs with
their Chinese counterparts.

44. (U) According to a December "People's Police" press
report, during a December 22 - 23 trilateral Meeting on Drug
Control Cooperation among Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam in
Hanoi under the chairmanship of General Le Hong Anh,
Vietnamese Minister of Public Security and Vice Chair of
NCADP, Vietnam said that it was willing to "share
experiences and exchange visits and training programs with
the two neighbors." At Vietnam's initiative, a project
proposal (for UNODC funding) that is to be endorsed at the
next meeting in Phnom Penh will be designed to strengthen
cross-border cooperation on drug control between the three
countries. Delegates also agreed that the borders still
remain hotspots for drug trafficking, drug abuse, and drug-
related crimes. They called for stepping up information
exchange to aid the fight.

45. (U) In February, during a joint cabinet meeting held in
Danang city between Vietnam and Thailand, Deputy Prime
Minister Vu Khoan and his Thai counterpart Chavalit
Yongchaiyudh discussed, among other security issues, drug
cooperation. They agreed to set up a joint working
committee to monitor security cooperation, including drug
crimes. And on 29 April, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan
Dung signed the decision to ratify the agreement on crime
prevention cooperation between Vietnam and Thailand, which
was signed in Nakhon Phanom (Thailand) on February 21, 2004.

46. (U) In April, for the first time, Vietnam and China held
a conference on bilateral cooperation for security and
fighting crime at the border. In addition to the border and
security issues, the participants discussed measures to
combat drugs. Vietnam has also taken steps in the fight
against the use of drugs in sports; Vietnamese Minister and
Chairman of the Sports Committee Nguyen Danh Thai and Danish
Ambassador to Vietnam Bjarne Sorensen signed the Copenhagen
Declaration on Anti-Doping on April 22 in Hanoi.

47. (U) At the May 6-9 meeting of the ASEAN Inter-Parliament
Organization (AIPO) Drugs Investigation Board, Ms. Nguyen
Thi Hong Xinh, member of the National Assembly's Commission
on Social Affairs, presented Vietnam's achievements in its
fight against drugs. Representatives of eight member-
states, including Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia,
Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore participated in the meeting,
which was organized in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The delegates
from Brunei and Myanmar attended the meeting as special
observers.

48. (U) The Republic of Korea has pledged USD 534,000 to
help Vietnam's anti-drug effort. A two-year project was
signed on July 27 by representatives of SODC and the Korean
International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). The project will
develop an intranet system linking the three major cities of
Hanoi, Danang and Ho Chi Minh City to modernize their
administrative network and provide training to Vietnamese
officials. This is the first international cooperation
program between the two countries in the field of drug
control.

49. (U) During the official visit by Burmese Prime Minister
Khin Nyunt to Vietnam on August 9, Vietnamese Public
Security Minister Le Hong Anh and Burmese Interior Minister
Tin Lang signed an agreement on cooperation in crime
prevention.

50. (U) Police Colonel Pham Ho, Chief of Interpol Vietnam,
led the Vietnamese delegation to the 24th meeting of the
ASEAN Police Chiefs on August 16 in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Representatives of ten ASEAN member countries, the
International Police General Secretary and observers of
police services from Australia, New Zealand and East Timor
discussed the establishment of an ASEAN police information
center, fighting economic, cyber and hi-tech crimes and drug
trafficking.

51. (U) Vietnamese and Thai security forces plan to set up a
hotline to exchange information about regional drug
trafficking. An agreement on the hotline was reached on
September 13 during the first Vietnam - Thailand Bilateral
Meeting on Drug Control Cooperation in Ho Chi Minh City.

52. (U) During the September 27 - October 2 visit to Vietnam
by Mr. Kideng Thamavong, Vice Chairman of the Lao Commission
of Drug Control, Police General Le The Tiem, Vice Minister
of Public Security, had a meeting with the commission to
discuss the implementation of the bilateral agreement on
drug control cooperation signed in July 1998.

53. (SBU) In January, police in Taiwan informed their
Vietnamese counterparts of a seizure of 44 kilograms of
heroin in Kaohsiung port. The illegal shipment was reported
as coming from Nha Trang in Vietnam. Despite the urging of
and assistance offered by both the Taiwan authorities and
DEA, the Vietnamese did not conduct any follow-up
investigation into the activities of the trafficking
organization in Vietnam.

54. (U) In addition to the U.S. agreement, Vietnam has
counternarcotics agreements and MOUs with seven other
countries: Burma (March 1995), Thailand (November 1998),
Russia (October 1998), Hungary (June 1998), Cambodia (June
1998), Laos (July 1998) and China (July 2001). In 1993,
with UNODC support, Vietnam signed regional counternarcotics
MOUs with China, Laos, Burma, Thailand and Cambodia. The
six "MOU states" agreed to cooperate on counternarcotics
activities and, with UNODC's help, better coordinate their
law-enforcement efforts, especially in border areas.
Vietnam is currently precluded by statute from extraditing
Vietnamese nationals, but the GVN is contemplating
legislative changes, according to an MFA official. However,
at the request of the USG (and in accordance with the 1988
UN Drug Convention), in 2003 Vietnam agreed to two rendition
requests (one each from the FBI and U.S. Customs) and
returned two non-citizens to the U.S., where they were
wanted for various white collar and money laundering.

Cultivation/production
----------------------

55. (SBU) The GVN and UNODC confirm that opium is grown in
hard-to-reach upland and mountainous regions of some
northwestern provinces, especially Son La, Lai Chau and Nghe
An Provinces. According to USG sources, the total number of
hectares under opium poppy cultivation has been reduced
sharply from an estimated 12,900 hectares in 1993, when the
GVN began opium poppy eradication, to 2,300 hectares in
2000. (Note: The 2004 USG estimate is the same as 2000
because, to the best of Embassy Hanoi's knowledge, no
satellite survey has been performed since 2000. End Note.)
UNODC and law enforcement sources do not view production as
a significant problem in Vietnam. While the GVN does not
admit that drugs are produced in the country, Nguyen Ngoc
Tam was sentenced to death in Ho Chi Minh City on April 18
for involvement with a Taiwan-led drug ring that produced
hundreds of kilograms of methamphetamines in a clandestine
laboratory in Tan Thoi Hiep, Hoc Mon (Ho Chi Minh City).
There have been unconfirmed reports in past years concerning
probable indications of limited ATS production, as well as
some seizures of equipment (i.e., pill presses). DEA also
turned up information pointing to an extremely large
methamphetamine lab in Ho Chi Minh City in 2004.

Eradication/crop substitution
-----------------------------
56. (U) As part of its efforts to comply fully with the 1988
UN Drug Convention, the GVN continued to eradicate poppy
when found, and to implement crop substitution, introducing
other crops such as mandarin oranges, tea, cinnamon, plums,
herbs, hybrid corn, potatoes and soybeans to replace opium
poppy cultivation. Concerning eradication, based on Embassy
provincial visits and the UNODC, the GVN appears sincere in
its poppy eradication efforts. However, GVN officials have
admitted that complete eradication is probably unrealistic,
given the remoteness of mountainous areas in the northwest
and extreme poverty among ethnic minority populations who
sometimes still use opium for medicinal purposes.

57. (U) There is a major UNODC crop substitution project
(with significant USG support) ongoing in the Ky Son
district of Nghe An Province, one of the drug "hotspots" in
northern Vietnam. This project, currently nearing the end
of its second phase, includes a crop
substitution/alternative development component, in which
various types of fruit trees and other enterprises, such as
beekeeping, have been implemented in areas formerly
dedicated to poppy. Former UNODC representative Doris
Buddenberg viewed the first phase as "successful," with an
increase in agricultural production and corresponding drop
in drug activity.

58. (U) In addition to Ky Son, the GVN's Ministry of
Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has continued to
support projects in various provinces. The GVN, through
MARD, independently supports crop substitution projects in
other provinces, including Hoa Binh, Yen Bai, Ha Giang, Cao
Bang and Lang Son. The GVN has tasked MARD with developing
a national crop substitution proposal to include in the
GVN's 2006-2010 Master Plan. To avoid indirectly
encouraging poppy cultivation through subsidies for
eradication, the GVN has placed all crop substitution
subsidies under national programs to alleviate poverty in
poor, mountainous regions.

59. (U) At a national conference to review the 2003 poppy
crop elimination program and discuss the 2004 action plan
held on June 4 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural
Development (MARD), Vice Minister Bui Ba Bong said that the
GVN had pumped over approximately USD 6.4 million in to the
alternative development and crop substitution program in the
former opium cultivating areas. 160 tons of high-yield
upland rice was supplied to local farmers under Program 135
supporting households in extremely difficult circumstances
in Vietnam's remote communes. A total of 32.47 hectares was
discovered under poppy cultivation and completely destroyed
in 2003. Son La is the largest area of poppy cultivation,
with 25.3 hectares in Bac Yen and Song Ma districts. Re-
cultivation of opium crops remains possible due to
inefficient control of opium seeds, according to Mr. Bong.
During another conference held in Son La on September 8,
representatives from the 14 mountainous northwestern
provinces, border stations and customs offices in the region
said that Son La accounts for 95 percent of the country's
entire opium cultivation area. Vice Minister of Public
Security Le The Tiem said separately that there were 428
hectares of poppy cultivation in 2001 in 153 communes in 30
districts of 10 provinces, but, in 2003, the area was only
102.061 hectares, reduced by 74 percent, in remote terrain
in Bac Kan, Cao Bang, Ha Giang, Lao Cai, Lang Son, Lai Chau,
Son La, Nghe An and Thanh Hoa.

60. (SBU) When well executed, crop substitution appears to
be a viable program that also assists ethnic minority people
in Vietnam's poorer, mountainous regions.

Drug flow/transit
-----------------

61. (SBU) While law enforcement sources and UNODC believe
that significant amounts of drugs are transiting Vietnam,
DEA has not yet identified a firm case of heroin entering
the United States directly from Vietnam, although it appears
some may be entering via Australia. More commonly, drugs,
especially heroin and opium, enter Vietnam from Laos and
Cambodia, making their way to Hanoi or especially to Ho Chi
Minh City, where they are transshipped by air or sea to
other countries. The GVN attributes significant and
frequent seizures in 2004 to increased law enforcement along
Vietnam's borders with its neighbors. The number of drug
cases discovered by the Border Army in 2003 was six times
higher as compared to the year 2002. According to a
February press report, Tay Ninh police discovered a drug
ring led by Phan Nguyen Anh Thu who had trafficked a total
of 114.75 kilograms of heroin and 606 ecstasy pills from
Cambodia into Ho Chi Minh City. Separately, Tay Ninh police
concluded an investigation of a drug trafficking ring led by
Mout Sang Nang, a Cambodian, and proposed prosecution of 10
other suspects on February 9. Between June 2000 and May
2003, the ring had smuggled 103 kilograms of heroin and 606
tablets of ATS from Cambodia into Vietnam. In another case,
ten suspects, five of whom are Lao citizens, were arrested
by police in the city of Vinh for heroin trafficking. They
are allegedly members of a huge heroin trafficking gang, who
have admitted to transporting 93.75 kilograms of heroin from
Laos into Vietnam.

62. (U) Some other examples that show Vietnam as either a
transit country or a country of heavy consumption include:

-- Song A Gia and Gu A Song, Lao citizens, were captured in
Ban Ta Re, Long Luong Commune, Moc Chau District, Son La
Province on 14 January. Police seized 11.2 kilograms of
heroin, 800 methamphetamine pills and a Colt-brand handgun
with 13 bullets;

-- Hsu Minh Chuan, a 40 year-old man from Taiwan who was
once extradited on weapons trafficking charges, was
sentenced to two years in prison on February 23 after he was
found guilty of possessing 0.297 grams of heroin. Chuan,
who is a heroin user and was arrested by police in Hai Ba
Trung District last August, told the police that he bought
the drugs for his own use in Thanh Nhan ward, a notorious
drug area in Hanoi;

-- Two leaders of a major drug ring, Ngo Xuan Phuong and Ngo
Duc Minh, and 11 co-conspirators faced Ho Chi Minh City
People's Court in February. They were charged with
possession of 36kg of heroin, 50kg of marijuana, 15kg of
methamphetamine and 6,000 ecstasy tablets. Ngo Xuan Phuong,
who had settled in Japan, and Ngo Duc Minh, who was a
smuggler in Haiphong, began smuggling drugs from Vietnam
into Japan. In late 2000, Phuong worked with a Vietnamese-
American, John Nguyen, and a Vietnamese expatriate in
England, Vu Van Quang, to smuggle ecstasy tablets from the
Netherlands into Vietnam and then sold the drugs in Ho Chi
Minh City;

-- On April 22, Trang Thi Kim Chi, an overseas Vietnamese,
was arrested for illegally transporting 5,000 tablets of
narcotic drugs, including 3500 tranquilizers and 1500
ecstasy pills, from France into Vietnam;

-- Ho Chi Minh City Customs reported 27 cases of illegal
import of 596.5 kilograms of pharmaceutical drugs have been
cracked between January and May 2004. Many of these
shipments contained narcotic drugs and psychotropic
substances. Most traffickers arrested have been overseas
Vietnamese and foreigners arriving from France;

-- David Dang (Dang Van Tam), a Vietnamese citizen resident
in France, was arrested for transporting 383 tablets of ATS
via the Lao Bao border checkpoint in Quang Tri Province on
12 May 2004.

-- Tony Tran, an overseas Vietnamese, was arrested in Ho Chi
Minh City on May 29 on charges of trafficking illicit drugs
into Australia. Tran admitted to sending heroin by post 17
times before he was caught;

-- Tay Ninh Counternarcotics Police discovered a
transnational drug ring that smuggled cannabis from Cambodia
into Ho Chi Minh City. Ring leader Nguyen Quoc Phien was
arrested on May 30 in Bien Hoa, Dong Nai, while transporting
130 kilograms of cannabis;

-- Tran Van Hoi and Nguyen Van Tho from Nghe An, in
conjunction with traffickers in Laos, successfully smuggled
87.5kilograms of heroin into Vietnam. Police arrested 12
suspects, including five foreigners in that case;

-- HCM City Police have cracked down on two drug rings led
by Tran Xuan Ha, Hoang Trong Hung and Tran Huy Cong from
Nghe An Province. Heroin was smuggled from Laos to the
central provinces and further transported to Ho Chi Minh
City. The police arrested 20 suspects and seized 20
kilograms of heroin and other evidence. The rings had
allegedly shipped over 350 kilograms of heroin into HCMC and
earned about USD 3,000/kilo;

-- Border guards in the central province of Quang Binh
stopped two trucks carrying 79.6 kilograms of heroin at Cha
Lo international border checkpoint and arrested the drivers;

-- Hanoi People's Court on July 21 handed down prison
sentences between from 12 to 18 months to a seven-member
drug ring operating between Vietnam and Laos. The police
reported that the ring had successfully transported 3,700
boxes (each box containing 30 Lexomil (Bromazepam) pills) or
a total of 111,000 pills through Cau Treo border gate in Ha
Tinh Province;

-- On August 21, Hanoi Police proposed prosecution of Song A
Gia, Gu A Song and 16 other suspects for trafficking heroin
from Sam Nua, Laos, to Hanoi and Son La, Yen Bai and Ha Tay
Provinces since 2002;

-- Customs officials at HCMC's Tan Son Nhat Airport on
August 17 arrested a Vietnamese-Australian for carrying 440
grams of heroin. Tran Thi Hong Loan, 32, had reportedly
concealed the heroin in a hair spray bottle in her luggage.
This seizure was directly related to the previous week's USG-
funded Customs Enforcement Training program;

-- ABC Radio Australia reported that Vietnam's police have
arrested 48 suspects and broke up the country's biggest ever
drug trafficking network. The armed gang trafficked almost
900 kilograms of heroin from Cambodia for sale throughout
Vietnam between 1998 and 2003. Police are continuing the
hunt for 20 other gang members;

63. (U) According to "Phap Luat" (Law) newspaper, ketamine
has emerged this year in Hanoi and other major cities. Law
enforcement agencies gave warnings of the spreading use of
ketamine in nightclubs and discos and called for stricter
control of diversion from legal sources. According to a
press report, the owner of a restaurant in Haiphong was
arrested on August 1 on charges of using ketamine in
preparing bear-bile elixir (an expensive concoction made
from bile extracted from live bears, and is very popular
among Chinese and Vietnamese drinkers.) According to Decree
133/2003/ND-CP dated November 16, 2003, ketamine is a
controlled substance in Table III, which can be only used
for research and medical purposes. In addition, Tai Ma is
an herbal drug recently available in Hanoi in the form of
twigs of leaves with tiny seeds. It is smoked in a tobacco-
pipe and has cannabis-like effects. Another type that was
recently reported in Vietnam is a yellow-color, odorless
extract of opium called "hong bi." This new drug was
trafficked across the border between Vietnam and China.

64. (U) According to SODC, in 2004 many large-scale
trafficking cases were discovered. The ATS flow into the
country during 2004 continued to be serious and not limited
to border areas. According to Vice Minister of Public
Security Le The Tiem, in addition to opium or heroin, ATS
can now be found throughout the country. Recent ATS cases
include:

-- Nguyen To Loan and seven of her accomplices were captured
in a police raid while distributing 260 pills of ecstasy.
The alleged traffickers said they had successfully
transported three shipments of 300 - 500 pills from Ho Chi
Minh City to Hanoi.

-- In another case, Ho Chi Minh City police seized two
traffickers and 260 pills of ecstasy known as thuoc lac on
July 9 after arresting drug distributors and searching their
homes.

-- In Hanoi, the counternarcotics police caught seven
suspects in a drug trafficking ring from Ho Chi Minh City.
540 ecstasy pills and small amounts of methamphetamine were
seized. The police said the seven, including three bar
girls, admitted that they have trafficked drugs by air and
railway, usually carrying from 500 to 1,000 pills per
journey.

-- In a separate case, during a house search following the
arrest of ten drug runners on May 8, 700 grams of heroin and
135 tablets of methamphetamines were seized.

-- In Ho Chi Minh City alone, Customs reported 27 cases of
the illegal import of 596.5 kilograms of addictive
pharmaceuticals between January and May 2004. Many of these
shipments contained narcotic drugs and psychotropic
substances. Most of the traffickers arrested are overseas
Vietnamese and foreigners arriving from France.
-- Again, in Ho Chi Minh City, Police caught 20 year-old
Nguyen Thi My Huong selling over 500 ecstasy tablets at a
cafe in District 3 on March 17. The search of Huong's home
the next day resulted in seizure of 120 pills of ecstasy.
Huong confessed that she could sell about 1,000 ecstasy
tablets a day.

65. (U) 2004 also witnessed various trials for ATS
traffickers.

-- In Hanoi, the People's Court on July 21 handed down
sentences ranging from one to 18 years in prison to a seven-
member drug trafficking ring operating between Viet Nam and
Laos. The police reported that the ring had successfully
transported 3,700 boxes [each box containing 30 Lexomil
(Bromazepam) pills] or a total of 111,000 pills through Cau
Treo border-gate in Ha Tinh Province.

-- In Ho Chi Minh City, the Appeals Court confirmed death
sentences for six men involved in illegal drug trafficking.
Between 2001 and 2003, the ring had conducted 32 smuggling
trips, trafficking more than 103 kg of heroin and 606
ecstasy pills from Cambodia to Vietnam through border gates
in Tay Ninh.

-- On May 10, the Ho Chi Minh City People's Court sentenced,
during the biggest ever ecstasy trial, Chung Quoc Minh and
Nguyen Kim Oanh to life in prison for trafficking 14,200
tablets of ecstasy. Other defendants received a total of
237 years in prison and additional fines of USD 115,625.

-- Separately, Son La People's Court handed down a 20-year
sentence to Le Van Bay and Pham Van Son from Thuy Nguyen,
Haiphong for trafficking half a cake (175 grams) of heroin
and 196 tablets of methamphetamine from Moc Chau.

During the year, authorities discovered significant cases on
the border between Vietnam and neighboring countries.

66. (U) Vietnam - Laos: Song A Gia and Gu A Song, Laotian
citizens, were captured in Ban Ta Re, Long Luong Commune,
Moc Chau district, Son La Province on January 14. The
police seized 11.2 kilograms of heroin, 800 methamphetamine
pills and a Colt-brand handgun with 13 bullets. Separately,
Lao Bao border gate authorities arrested on May 12 Dang Van
Tam, a Vietnamese-French, for transporting 383 tablets of
ATS. In another case, Cau Treo border gate Customs in Ha
Tinh Province discovered 499 bottles of ketamine concealed
in a tool-kit in a truck driven by Cao Xuan Phuc. Another
man, Nguyen Ba Ngoc was caught while transporting 220 kg of
Terpin-Codine and 1,680 cigarette packs.

67. (U) Vietnam - Cambodia: Since 2003, drug trafficking has
increased along the Vietnam - Cambodia border, and the
number of drug cases discovered by the Border Army in 2003
was six times higher as compared to 2002. Tay Ninh police
discovered a drug ring led by Phan Nguyen Anh Thu, who had
trafficked a total of 114.75 kilograms of heroin and 606
ecstasy pills from Cambodia to Ho Chi Minh City. On
February 9, Tay Ninh police concluded investigation of
another drug ring led by Mout Sang Nang, a Cambodian
citizen. Between June 2000 and May 2003, the ring had
smuggled 103 kilograms of heroin and 606 tablets of ATS from
Cambodia into Vietnam.

Domestic programs/demand reduction
-----------------------------------

68. (U) The GVN views demand reduction as a key component of
the fight against drugs as well as an integral part of its
efforts fully to comply with the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
Within the GVN, the Ministry of Culture and Information
(MCI) is responsible for public drug control information and
education among the general population. The Ministry of
Education and Training (MOET) carries out awareness
activities in schools. Anti-drug material is available in
all schools and MOET sponsors various workshops and
campaigns at all school levels. MOET reported that drug
abuse remains a problem among the students in 51
universities, colleges and vocational schools in 50
provinces and cities. Vice Minister of Education and
Training Dang Huynh Mai observed the reduction of drug abuse
among students was not sustainable. In its 2004 drug
activity report, SODC reported that the border forces
continued to play an "active role" in disseminating anti-
drug information to border villages and communes.
Activities included sponsoring contests, such as art
projects, to demonstrate local commitment against drugs. On
several provincial trips, emboffs heard from local citizens
(not in the presence of GVN officials) that they are aware
of drug issues through media campaigns directed at the
general public as well as students, and also of the
connection between intravenous drugs and HIV/AIDS. Emboffs
have observed anti-drug billboards in virtually every town
visited.

69. (SBU) UNODC views GVN drug awareness efforts in 2004
"more or less the same" as in 2003, while assessing that
Vietnam has already done a "good job" in this endeavor.
According to UNODC, awareness efforts have mostly been on
the "formality" level, however, so these efforts have had
minimal impact on the addict and HIV/AIDS population.
Behavior modification is still a problematic issue for the
GVN. UNODC believes that the challenge for Vietnam is how
to implement awareness campaigns more regularly at the
grassroots level and better encourage the participation of
the youth population. According to UNAIDS and the GVN, just
under 70 percent of cumulative HIV/AIDS cases in Vietnam are
related to injection drug use. Furthermore, HIV
surveillance indicates that nationwide, more than 30 percent
of IDUs are HIV-infected; this percentage is much higher (60-
80 percent) in Ho Chi Minh City, (65-85 percent) in Quang
Ninh Province and other northeastern provinces. Recognizing
the close link between drug use and HIV/AIDS, the GVN in
2004 continued a public information campaign regarding
HIV/AIDS awareness and the connection between drugs and
HIV/AIDS. In March 2004, the Prime Minister approved the
"National Strategy on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control in
Vietnam up to 2010 with a Vision to 2020." The GVN
continued a long-standing campaign of anti-drug posters all
around Vietnam, and Vietnamese television and radio have
increased the pace and volume of anti-drug and HIV/AIDS
warnings through a continuing series of advertisements
featuring popular singers and actors. However, the good
news, according to the National Committee on AIDS Control,
is that there has been a reduction of 33.2 percent in the
number of people living with HIV, 17.4 percent in full-blown
AIDS patients and 23 percent in AIDS-related deaths as
compared with the same period in 2003. By October 2004,
there were 84,925 people living with HIV countrywide, of
which 13,409 have developed AIDS.

70. (U) Vietnam has a network of drug treatment centers.
According to MOLISA, with three new facilities in Binh Phuoc
(2) and Hanoi (1), there are now 74 centers at the
provincial level and 7,100 treatment facilities at lower
levels. The provincial centers have a capacity of between
100 to 3,000 addicts each. According to Vice Minister of
Public Security Le The Tiem, the addiction growth rate has
been reduced but the absolute number of addicts keeps
increasing. The number increased by 26.2 percent in 2001
against 2000, 24.6 percent in 2002 against 2001 and 13.1
percent in 2003 against 2002. According to SODC, the
treatment goals for the 2004 - 2005 period include:

-- Providing treatment to 50,000 registered addicts;
-- Reducing the recidivism rate by ten percent on a yearly
basis;
-- Providing treatment to 100 percent of officially
recognized addicts by 2005;
-- Upgrading treatment centers to increase capacity.

71. (U) Thai Nguyen: Phap luat Newspaper reported that the
number of drug users in the city has decreased from 2,277 in
2001 to 2,166 in 2004. The city provided non-interest loans
to set up production units in the centers, such as block and
tunnel bricks manufacture, sand and gravel mining, livestock
development, wood processing and carpentry. The city also
ensured outlets for and consumption of the products, for
example, wooden furniture for schools and bricks and tiles
for construction and streets and sidewalks. Turnover in
2004 is expected to be USD 125,000. The recovering drug
users worked in these production units on a contractual
basis with an average income of USD 37 per month, slightly
below the per capita income in Vietnam.

72. (U) Hoa Binh: The center was set up in 1994 and has 35
officials and medical workers providing treatment to 300
drug users. Ten percent of them were prostitutes and 40
percent had contracted HIV. Provincial authorities provide
funds for the patients' food at the center, but it only
lasts for six months, while the duration of internment is a
minimum of 12 months. Most patients' families are incapable
of providing support to their relatives, according to press
reports and DSEP officials.

73. (U) Thai Binh: A 5.3 hectare center was built in Ha Loi,
Ky Ba at a cost of VND 25 billion. With a capacity of 300 -
350 people, the center is expected to provide treatment to
80 percent of the addict population in the province in the
2005 - 2006 period.

74. (U) Hanoi: "An Ninh Thu Do" (Capital Security) newspaper
reported there were 13,808 drug users in the capital city by
June 18, 2004. Of that number, 4,727 addicts are in
treatment centers; 2,006 in prisons; and 6,809 in the
community. 266 have moved to other provinces/cities. The
newspaper also quoted Mr. Le Van Nha, Director of the Social
Evils Prevention Department in MOLISA, as saying that the
existing drug centers could provide treatment to only 30
percent of total drug population nationwide.
75. (U) Ho Chi Minh City: The city suffers from
overpopulation in its treatment centers. Ho Chi Minh City
City Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs
(DOLISA) reported that over 28,000 drug users are receiving
treatment in the city's centers. 10,000 have completed a
two-year treatment program and 6,000 have been transferred
to post-treatment management. The municipality continued to
implement 43 projects in collaboration with production
units, with a total investment of USD 2.5 million to create
sufficient jobs for 10,000 ex-addicts. The city planned to
provide treatment to 30,000 drug users and 3,000 female sex
workers in the second half of 2004. However, the target
number was overly ambitious: the current capacity of the
existing centers is only 23,000 beds.

76. (U) On August 10, Le Thanh Hai, Chairman of Ho Chi Minh
City's People's Committee, met with the City's Youth
Volunteers and the Management Board of Drug Center No. 4 to
discuss solutions to the staff shortage problem.

77. (U) According to reports during a national conference to
review the three-year implementation of the national drug
control action plan 2001-2005 organized by NCADP in Hanoi
March 22 - 23, there are 160,670 drug users nationwide with
80 drug treatment centers providing treatment to over 40,000
drug addicts. In 2004, Vietnam embarked on an aggressive
program to try to place recovered drug addicts in factories
and other employment as an incentive to stay clean.

78. (U) On March 16, the Youth Brigade held a ground
breaking ceremony at Nhi Xuan industrial park in Hoc Mon
District, Ho Chi Minh City. The park is 51.75 hectares with
total investment of VND 193 billion. The park is expected
to provide jobs for 10,000 workers, of whom between 5,000
and 6,000 are former drug addicts.

79. (U) Some 200 more former drug users who have completed
drug rehabilitation and vocational training started work at
a plastics production factory, which opened on April 20 in
Ho Chi Minh City's Cu Chi District. On May 9, Ms. Ha Ngoc,
Director of Thinh Phat Company, held a ceremony for the
admission of 350 recovering drug users to her garment
workshop in Ho Chi Minh City.

80. (U) Two workshops for garment manufacture, embroidery
and bamboo weaving were recently opened in Treatment Center
No. 4 for Education and Vocational Training of the Ho Chi
Minh City Youth Volunteers in Tan Uyen District of Binh
Duong province, providing jobs to 250 former drug addicts.

81. (U) About 500 recovered drug addicts would have the
opportunity to work in a sewing workshop, which was opened
in Ho Chi Minh City on June 11. The USD 95,500 workshop is
part of a project to help rehabilitated addicts to
reintegrate into society. More than 200 others have already
received training courses. They would be employed to work
in Kim An Company's other workshops around the city.

82. (U) Two other workshops were also set up at the center
for cashew nut and coffee processing, with a total of 600
laborers working regularly after the completion of their
treatment. Recently, the center has announced recognition
of successful treatment for 1,174 drug users.

83. (U) A dressmaking workshop comprising three production
lines with 150 industrial sewing machines was recently
commissioned in Drug Treatment Center No. 5 in Ho Chi Minh
City. This is an investment of USD 116,000 by Ben Thanh
Company.

84. (U) In a separate effort, Cardinal Pham Minh Man in Ho
Chi Minh City decided to send two priests and eight nuns to
Binh Phuoc drug treatment center to provide support to 100
drug addicts on a long-term basis.

85. (U) There are six drug treatment centers in Hanoi
providing treatment to a total of 5,000 drug addicts.
Nguyen Vi Hung, Director of Hanoi DOLISA's Department of
Social Evils Prevention (DSEP), said 70 percent of the drug
addicts in the centers are ex-convicts, and 30 percent are
infected with HIV. Duration for mandatory treatment is 24
months and annual treatment fees include USD 380 in the
first year and USD 366 in the second year. The GVN provides
one-third of the cost of compulsory treatment, about USD
6/person/month, while the family contributes two-thirds.
Treatment would be provided free of charge to drug addicts
from families entitled to social service benefits and/or
from poor households. Ms. Cao Minh Chau, Director of Hanoi
DOLISA, said Hanoi would build two new centers in 2004 to
provide treatment for more drug users. The city planned to
provide treatment to 6,000 drug addicts in 2004, 8,000 in
2005 and 10,000 in 2006.

86. (U) Hanoi authorities decided to put all drug users in
treatment centers (as opposed to permitting "community
treatment," a kind of outpatient drug treatment program) and
to launch a pilot compulsory treatment program in Gia Lam
and Dong Anh Districts. According to Mr. Nguyen Vi Hung, by
March 2003 there were 13,736 drug users. It is estimated
around 2,000 drug users in the capital city have yet to be
identified and registered.

87. (U) Drug treatment centers in Hanoi were temporarily
closed due to overcrowding in early 2004. While the centers
can provide treatment to 5,000 addicts, there are around
10,000 drug users requiring it. The Municipal People's
Committee approved a plan to develop treatment centers in
the city by 2010, which set targets to provide treatment to
8,000 drug addicts in 2005 and 13,000 by 2010. The average
capacity of each center ranges from 1,000 - 1,500 drug
addicts at the city level and 300 - 500 at the district
level. Each center needs around 10 - 20 hectares of land
for office and residence buildings, classrooms, workshops,
sports grounds and farms.

88. (U) Over the past two years, Ho Chi Minh City has
allocated VND 500 billion (USD 32.3 million) for its "Three
Reductions" campaign against drug abuse and trafficking,
prostitution and crime. The city revealed the figure at a
conference reviewing the program's first two years. Much of
the fund was used to build, repair and/or upgrade 18 centers
for 28,000 drug addicts and sex workers. Another 23,000
drug addicts received treatment at home under the
supervision of local authorities. According to Tuoi Tre
(Youth) newspaper, Ho Chi Minh City now has 37,423 addicts,
an increase of 7,423 over 2002. Out of that number, 33,577
are in treatment facilities.

89. (SBU) SODC officials have admitted that the centers are
often inadequate, and that the high recidivism rate is
"unacceptable." Based on a number of visits throughout the
year, Embassy agrees that drug center conditions range from
resort-like (in Ho Chi Minh City) to under construction
(Lang Son Province, Can Tho City). Community-based drug
treatment outside of centers is spotty; counselors are
expected to make visits to addicts being treated at home and
provide advice and some medicines, if needed, but services
are inconsistent.

90. (U) No escapes from drug treatment centers have been
officially reported in 2004, unlike in 2002. However,
according to a senior MOLISA official, the escape rate for
2004 in some provinces such as Ho Chi Minh City, Lao Cai,
Yen Bai and Thai Nguyen was very low, at about 0.2 percent.

91. (U) During its June 2003 session, the National Assembly
approved a five-year pilot project on post-treatment
vocational training developed by the Ho Chi Minh City
People's Committee. It was estimated in early 2004 that
about 14,000 recovered drug addicts in Ho Chi Minh City
would be employed by factories and enterprises under this
new scheme by the end of the year. City authorities have
invested USD 36 million to build new rehabilitation centers
and to upgrade existing centers for the city's program. Ho
Chi Minh City authorities have also approved a plan to
invest USD 12.5 million to develop the Nhi Xuan urban area.
More than 50 enterprises in Ho Chi Minh City have invested
about USD three million to provide vocational training and
jobs to over 10,000 drug addicts who have been undergoing
treatment at the city's detox centers. The job creation
program was launched by city authorities to help newly
rehabilitated addicts get stable jobs and reintegrate into
community life.

92. (U) On July 19, 2004, the Government issued Decree
No.146/ND-CP on stipulating procedures and authority to make
decisions on the admission of recovering drug addicts to
drug treatment centers for further rehabilitation and
vocational training.

-- Vice President Truong My Hoa asked the MOLISA to combine
their rehabilitation programs with vocational training and
employment generation for the effective rehabilitation of
drug addicts at a working session held with the Ministry in
Hanoi on September 14. The Vice President also agreed with
MOLISA's proposal to give preferential treatment to
businesses and enterprises which have employed former drug
addicts. According to MOLISA, Vietnam now has 161,000 drug
addicts. Out of that number, 67 percent are under 30 and
more than 66 percent are unemployed. The country now has 80
treatment centers, which can accommodate more than 40,000
addicts. About 70 - 80 percent of these centers provide
vocational training. However, only 10 - 18 percent of
addicts find employment.

-- The Ministry of Health approved new anti-drug medication,
CEDEMEX, after a nine-year study. On July 27, the MOH
issued a decision to allow its use in drug treatment
centers. Five million doses are scheduled to be produced by
mid-2005.

-- A research on the use of Naltrexone in drug treatment has
been carried out in the Mental Health Institute in Bach Mai
Hospital since 2002. The number of patients receiving
treatment on voluntary basis has increased from 46 to 200.

-- The National Assembly's Committee on Social Affairs had a
meeting on August 17 with the Ho Chi Minh City People's
Committee and 70 businessmen who have made investments to
support former drug addicts. Ms. Hoai Thu, Chairwoman of
the Commission, said the project would not wait for the
National Assembly session, but would immediately prepare
project reports and make proposals to facilitate the
implementation of Ho Chi Minh City's drug treatment program.

-- A workshop was organized on October 22 to review the
results of a pilot drug rehabilitation program launched in
Ho Chi Minh City last year. Ms. Nguyen Thi Hang, Minister
of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, said at the workshop
that the three-year program has achieved satisfactory
results after only one year of implementation. The most
remarkable result was the creation of jobs for recovering
drug addicts after their two-year treatment, she added. Ho
Chi Minh City has spent more than USD 47 million to upgrade
and build 18 drug centers capable of receiving around 30,000
addicts. It has also developed 30 production workshops and
farms at rehabilitation centers to provide employment for
recovering addicts. By August 2004, the city had provided
medical treatment to 29,138 drug users at the treatment
centers, jobs to 11,543 people who had received treatment
and job training to 8,700 recovering drug users.

-- The GVN asked other cities to replicate Ho Chi Minh
City's drug treatment model following the positive results
of the city's ongoing pilot drug program. The Government
asked leaders in Haiphong, Tay Ninh, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Kien
Giang, Quang Ninh and Nghe An to develop a similar drug
rehabilitation and job creation scheme to help victims of
drug addiction.
93. (SBU) According to a senior MOLISA official, Nguyen
Minh Triet, Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh Municipal Party
Committee, said publicly that he "would bet his political
career on the success of the program," but the project has
not been completely successful. The MOLISA official pointed
out that keeping the recovering addicts in "employment
parks" is a way of applying administrative punishments
through "detention" in a way that fails to ensure the
detainees' human rights.

94. (SBU) Vocational training in the centers remains uneven,
ranging from fairly good to nonexistent. In Yen Bai
province, there is widespread participation in carpentry,
tailoring, tree planting and construction training. In
Quang Nam Province (central Vietnam), on the other hand,
there is no training available. Staff training at the
centers is generally limited to that which is on-the-job,
due to lack of resources. Neither of these problems is
likely to be resolved in the foreseeable future. Inadequate
funding plagues drug treatment centers, similar to many
other public institutions in Vietnam. This does not appear
to have changed during 2004. On a more positive note, Ho
Chi Minh City announced in September 2003 it would be adding
nearly USD 800,000 to its anti-drug campaign, much of it
aimed at drug awareness and treatment.

95. (U) HIV/AIDS is a serious and growing problem in Vietnam
and one that is closely related to intravenous drug use. At
least 60-70 percent of known HIV cases are related to
injection drug use, and in some intravenous drug user (IDU)
populations the HIV prevalence rate exceeds 80 percent,
according to GVN statistics. According to an October press
report, Son La's spiraling HIV/AIDS rate is linked to the
rise in drug use. Officials from the province's Department
of Health and Department of Social Evils Prevention said
that the number of people living with HIV/AIDS has gone up
rapidly in the province, with 101 of the total 201 communes
reporting HIV cases. According to the officials, the
province ranks at the top in both the number of people
living with HIV and drug addicts among northern mountainous
provinces, which have reported a total of 1,433 HIV cases.
By January 2004, there were 76,180 people living with HIV
and 11,659 AIDS patients in the entire country. Of the AIDS
cases, 6,550 have died. The cities and provinces which were
hardest hit by the epidemic include Haiphong, Ho Chi Minh
City, Quang Ninh, An Giang, Hanoi and Can Tho, accounting
for 62 percent of newly identified cases in 2003. (Note:
these are also among the wealthiest and most urban areas of
Vietnam. End Note.)

96. (U) During 2004, Vietnam continued its efforts to combat
the HIV/AIDS epidemic through the following activities:

-- On March 17, 2004, Prime Minister Phan Van Khai approved
the National Strategy on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control in
Vietnam up to 2010 with a Vision to 2020. The strategy
gives a green light to harm reduction and supports expansion
of clean needle and syringe programs and condom promotion;

-- While Vietnam is calling for an increase in HIV/AIDS
prevention funds from international donors, as it is only
able now to meet 40 percent of its needs. A recent inter-
ministerial circular among the Ministries of Public
Security, Finance, Interior and Labor, War Invalids and
Social Affairs commits to a GVN allowance of USD 7.60 per
month per person for HIV caregivers, including public health
and education workers, prison wardens, policemen and guards.
The country's HIV/AIDS funding will only be able to meet
between 20 and 30 percent of its needs by 2010. According
to statistics released in March, Vietnam has a total of
79,154 HIV carriers. In addition, a recent decree by Prime
Minister Khai decided to give a special allowance to army
soldiers and national defense officials, who manage,
educate, care for or give medical check-ups to people with
HIV/AIDS. Soldiers and national defense officials infected
with HIV/AIDS on the job will get check-ups and treatment
and enjoy preferential policies as "sick soldiers." Part of
the decree specifies that they will be recognized as martyrs
when they die, which will entitle their families to extra
benefits;

-- On October 12 - 13 in Hanoi, the Ministry of Health (MOH)
organized a workshop on management and implementation of a
recent World Bank funded project to combat the HIV/AIDS
epidemic in the country. It was reported at the workshop
that all funding sources now only meet 30 percent of the
actual funding requirement;

-- The United State Pacific Command (USPACOM) and the
Vietnam People's Army co-organized a workshop on HIV
prevention in the military between September 30 and October
2, 2004, at Military Hospital 175 in Ho Chi Minh City. U.S.
Consul General Seth D. Winnick and more than 80 Vietnamese
military medical officers attended the workshop, which aimed
to increase education and awareness of the disease in the
military. Funding for the program came from the U.S.
Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program. Earlier,
USPACOM and the Vietnamese Ministry of Defense also held on
April 12 a four-day training course on HIV/AIDS prevention
in Hanoi for army health workers. This was the first course
of its kind for Vietnamese soldiers. About 100 senior
Vietnamese officers participated in the workshop;

-- During "Innovation Day" on May 20, 51 ideas to fight
HIV/AIDS from all corners of the country were presented.
They were competing for start-up funds totaling USD 300,000.
The two day event was organized by the World Bank in
collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the United
Nations Program on HIV/AIDS;

-- There are currently over 50 peer groups participating in
drug and HIV prevention activities in Hanoi, including 21
`Friends Help Friends' groups, 19 `Brothers' groups and four
`Sisters' groups. The groups have encouraged and educated
drug users to practice safe injection and receive treatment.
Since 1998, over 684,000 disposable syringes and 500,000
condoms have been distributed to the drug users, sex
workers, bar girls and those who have multiple sex partners.

-- In addition, the USG announced on June 23 that Vietnam
had been selected as the 15th focus nation under the
President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. (PEPFAR).

97. (U) Owing to efforts the GVN has made on the HIV/AIDS
prevention front in 2004, the country has made progress in
reducing the number of HIV/AIDS cases. Examples:

-- Dr. Le Truong Giang, Deputy Chairman of Ho Chi Minh
City's AIDS Committee, said during a meeting on April 10 to
set goals for HIV/AIDS prevention in 2004 that the initial
successes of the city's pilot drug rehabilitation program,
which aims to provide rehabilitation and vocational skills
for 30,000 drug victims at detoxification centers, has had
positive impact on HIV/AIDS control activities. The city's
AIDS Committee's statistics show the that proportion of drug
users and sex workers who contracted HIV dropped by 16
percent and nine percent, respectively, in 2003.

-- Simultaneously, according to NCADP, for 2004, it is
estimated that there are decreases of 33.2 percent in the
number of people living with HIV, 17.4 percent in full-blown
AIDS patients and 23 percent in AIDS-related deaths, as
compared to the same period in 2003. By October 2004, there
were 84,925 people living with HIV throughout the country,
of which 13,409 had developed full-blown AIDS and 7,677 have
died.

-- UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director Kathleen Cravero told
Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem in Hanoi on
October 18 that Vietnam's national HIV prevention strategy,
which targets prostitutes and addicts, should be replicated
in other countries. The GVN has divided up the work of AIDS
prevention and treatment among several ministries, giving
specific duties to each, but naming one to lead their
collaboration in particular areas. The new strategy also
focuses on reaching sex workers and injecting drug users.

-- In an interview with a "Tin Tuc" (Information) newspaper
reporter at a seminar on HIV/AIDS situation in Vietnam to
mark World AIDS Day, Mr. Mitchell Wolfe, Country Director of
the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in
Vietnam, emphasized that the Government of Vietnam, donors
and NGOs need to focus on efforts to fight HIV/AIDS because
lessons in other countries show that the epidemic may become
worse in Vietnam in coming years. Mr. Wolfe said the U.S.
Government in FY 2005, from April 2005 to March 2006, will
provide USD 25 million under the President's Emergency Plan
For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to assist the fight against
HIV/AIDS in Vietnam. The assistance has risen significantly
from USD 18 million in FY04. He added that the assistance
may rise further if HIV/AIDS prevention activities in
Vietnam are implemented efficiently.

98. (U) The World Bank has funded a USD 35 million project
which aims to reduce HIV infection rate to less than 0.3
percent in 20 provinces and cities. According to an MOH
report, Vietnam's HIV/AIDS control program also received
another USD 5 million from the international community.

99. (U) Vietnam has received USD 12 million in assistance
from the United Nations Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS and
provide training to health workers in the field. The
assistance will go toward increasing access to free
specialized medical treatment and health care and
information services. The number of patients receiving free
medicine for HIV/AIDS treatment is expected to increase ten
percent each year during the four-year program, said Dr.
Nguyen Tran Chinh, a member of the Global Fund Project
Managing Board. The 20 target areas include Ho Chi Minh
City, Hanoi, Haiphong and the provinces of Quang Ninh and An
Giang. Thanks to the funding, about 3,000 HIV patients from
20 provinces and cities may enjoy free medical treatment,
said an official for the Ministry of Public Health at a
seminar on August 28 in Can Tho City. The Chairman of the
National Assembly's Committee on Social Affairs reported
that there are some 81,000 people living with HIV across the
country. The Government has spent between VND 50 billion
and 70 billion to control the illness, meeting only one
percent of the demand for medical care. 5,000 HIV patients
are reportedly in need of medical treatment, the Health
Ministry reported;

100. (U) An important agreement on a USG-funded project to
help Ho Chi Minh City fight HIV/AIDS was signed on October
22 by HCMC Consul General Seth Winnick and Ho Chi Minh City
People's Committee Vice Chairman Nguyen Thanh Tai. This new
cooperative agreement between the USG and the Ho Chi Minh
City People's AIDS Committee will provide approximately USD
400,000 for increasing programs related to improving
HIV/AIDS prevention, care, treatment and support services
for vulnerable populations in Ho Chi Minh City from October
2004 to September 2009. This is the first cooperative
agreement on HIV/AIDS undertaken directly by the United
States and Ho Chi Minh City;

-- Vietnamese people living with HIV may have a chance to
buy retro-viral drugs at one tenth of the regular price, Dr.
Trinh Quan Huan from the Ministry of Health said. Under the
William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation's program, a
patient would pay USD 142 for one year of treatment
involving three drugs. Normally, the drug would cost USD
580 for a year's worth, or USD 2000 for a three-drug
cocktail. Health Ministry officials said they would comply
with the Foundation's restrictions.

101. (U) USAID has a USD 4.5 million HIV/AIDS program
(FY03), administered through several non-governmental
organizations. USAID's funding level will rise to USD nine
million in 2004. However, USAID has also recommended that
the GVN "dramatically increase its commitment to fighting
HIV/AIDS," including adopting additional national public
health policies and a multi-sectoral approach.

102. (U) CDC has a five-year USD ten million program with an
ongoing HIV/AIDS technical assistance bilateral program
through CDC/GAP. There will be 40 provinces, over five
years, receiving support to implement HIV interventions.
According to CDC, during 2004, the GVN continued stronger
support for HIV prevention programs, including voluntary
counseling and testing (VCT) and community outreach in
speeches and media. Thus far, CDC has funded 37 anonymous
MOH VCT programs in 32 provinces over the past two years,
with plans to expand to 40 provinces with a total of 53
sites by September 2005. With these programs, more than
26,500 persons have already been HIV-tested, of whom 22
percent are HIV-infected. CDC/GAP has also supported the
MOH in implementing community outreach programs for IDUs and
commercial sex workers (CSW) in provinces. As of November
2004, the program has been introduced and implemented in 28
provinces. Trained peer educators have made over 40,000
contacts with IDUs and CSWs, providing HIV prevention
education and referral to VCT or other services. The
demonstration PMTCT (prevention of mother-to-child
transmission) project has also been implemented in three
provinces (Quang Ninh, Haiphong and Ho Chi Minh City). In
addition, CDC has provided technical assistance to the GVN
to set up HIV outpatient clinics. 33 of 40 provinces have a
clinic located in the Infectious Diseases Departments of
provincial hospitals. This model will be the foundation for
anti-retroviral therapy once AIDS drugs are available for
persons living with AIDS in Vietnam. On the GVN's part, some
major cities (i.e., Ho Chi Minh City) have established
additional VCT sites at local levels, and one VCT center
supported by Family Health International (FHI) recently
opened in Hanoi at the national Bach Mai hospital.

103. (U) Since 1998, USAID funding totaling USD 17 million
has supported a large-scale prevention, mitigation and care
and support-focused HIV/AIDS program, predominantly through
its Global IMPACT Project, implemented by Family Health
International. This program focuses its comprehensive
interventions in three high-prevalence provinces, targeting
high-risk groups. Key partners include the MOH the
provincial AIDS Committees, as well as CDC. Additionally,
USAID is supporting national policy development through the
POLICY Project, including assistance to the GVN on its
National HIV/AIDS strategy and its ordinance review. USAID
programs also support advocacy for people living with
HIV/AIDS, a study on the impact of stigma and discrimination
and the development of Leadership Advisory Groups to raise
awareness and to reduce stigma and discrimination.

104. (U) Planned or ongoing GVN actions include:

-- Opening 20 VCT sites, with 15 more anticipated by the end
of 2004;
-- Three new peer education programs have been initiated, 13
more were opened during 2003 and five more are anticipated
by the end of 2004;
-- Two new outpatient clinics for HIV care and treatment
have been opened for diagnosis and management of
opportunistic infections;
-- 31 provinces currently support surveillance sites that
monitor the spread of HIV/AIDS among a cross-section of the
population; and,
-- The GVN is working with the USG and other foreign donors
in the areas of HIV management and care, diagnosis and
management of opportunistic infections, and assessing the
evidence for HIV prevention for injecting drug users. Also
included among this action are behavioral surveillance,
stigma reduction and policy development and enforcement at
the central level, as well as capacity building at the
central and provincial government levels.
U.S. POLICY INITIATIVES AND PROGRAMS
-------------------------------------

105. (U) In 2003, Vietnam and the U.S. completed and signed
a bilateral counternarcotics agreement, which came into
force in 2004. The agreement included counternarcotics and
law enforcement projects totaling USD 333,390. It
represents the first direct bilateral counternarcotics
program assistance to Vietnam. The USG currently funds
training annually for some GVN law enforcement officers and
other officials involved in the legal arena for courses at
the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok.
During calendar year 2004, U.S. Embassy Hanoi sent 65 law
enforcement officers for training at the Academy. Between
August 5 - 12, a one-week training course for Vietnamese
counternarcotics officers by American officials, the first
ever under the U.S.- Vietnam Letter of Agreement, was held
in Hanoi. The trainers are officials from the Customs and
Border Protection, U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The thirty Vietnamese participants were from the Department
of Customs; General Department of Police; anti-narcotics
units of Danang, Haiphong, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi under
the Ministry of Public Security; Immigration Department;
Airport Security Department; and Standing Office on Drug
Control. During the training course, experiences in anti-
narcotic activities on the sea and on airplanes were shared
with Vietnamese officers.

106. (U) The USG also contributes to counternarcotics
efforts through the UNODC. During 2003, the USG made
contributions to two projects: "Measures to Prevent and
Combat Trafficking in Persons in Vietnam," and "Interdiction
and Seizure Capacity Building with Special Emphasis on ATS
and Precursors." The ATS project achieved its main goals in
2004 with the signing of an interagency MOU and the
establishment of six interagency task forces at key border
"hotspots" around the country.

Other ongoing UNODC projects:

-- National Drug Control Masterplan (USG contribution of USD
100,000; Sweden and Italy are also donors). This ongoing
project is intended to assist the NCADP to develop a 2001-
2010 masterplan for controlling drugs. According to SODC,
the Plan is now ready for the Prime Minister's approval;

-- Ky Son Phase Two, a socio-economic development project to
replace opium poppy cultivation. (USG contribution of USD
635,000; Germany, Luxemburg, Sweden and Japan are also
donors.) This project began in 2002 and is intended to
build on the success of Phase One in establishing drug
demand reduction programs among ethnic minority people in a
remote area of Nghe An Province, adjacent to the Lao border.
The three project components include community development,
alternative development and infrastructure development.

-- Project Vie/B85 on the prevention of drug abuse among
ethnic minorities in northern Vietnam (Son La, Lai Chau and
Lao Cai);

-- Vie/03/G61 on strengthening the existing working models
and establishing a new innovative partnership with local
NGOs for community-based prevention of high-risk behavior
related to IDU (coordinated by UNAIDS);

-- Project R21 on Trafficking in Persons (the United States
is one of the donors).

The Road Ahead
--------------

107. (SBU) The GVN is acutely aware of the threat of drugs
and Vietnam's increasing domestic drug problem. However,
there is continued suspicion of foreign law enforcement
assistance and/or intervention, especially from the United
States, in the counternarcotics arena. This is one of the
factors impeding progress in counternarcotics law
enforcement. During 2004, as in previous years, the GVN
made progress with ongoing and new initiatives aimed at the
law enforcement and social problems that stem from the
illegal drug trade. Notwithstanding a lack of meaningful
operational cooperation with DEA, the GVN continued to show
a willingness to take unilateral action against drugs and
drug trafficking. Vietnam still faces many internal
problems that make fighting drugs a challenge. With the
conclusion of the counternarcotics LOA, the USG can look
forward to enhanced counternarcotics cooperation in the area
of assistance to Vietnamese law enforcement agencies.
Operational cooperation, however, remains on hold pending
the development of a legal framework in Vietnam to allow
foreign law enforcement officers to carry out operations on
Vietnamese soil, or the signing of a bilateral agreement
between the United States and Vietnam that would create a
mechanism for joint investigation and development of drug
cases. Neither the legal overhaul nor the bilateral
agreement seem likely to occur in the short term.

STATISTICS
----------

108. (U) BELOW ARE OFFICIAL 2004 VIETNAM DRUG STATISTICS
PROVIDED BY SODC. THE FIGURES REPRESENT THE PERIOD BETWEEN
NOVEMBER 2003 AND NOVEMBER 2004.

109. (U) BEGIN TEXT, INCSR SUMMARY TABLES.

SUMMARY TABLES FOR THREE YEARS

-- 1. COCA. VIETNAM PRODUCED NO COCA IN 2003 OR PREVIOUS
YEARS.

-- 2. POTENTIAL COCA LEAF. NOT APPLICABLE TO VIETNAM.

-- 3. OPIUM.

STATISTICAL TABLE

DRUG CULTIVATION (HECTARES) 2004 2003 2002

HARVESTABLE CULTIVATION 32.5 94 315
ERADICATION 32.5 94 315
POPPY HARVESTED (SEEDS) 0 0 0

-- 4. POTENTIAL OPIUM GUM. NOT AVAILABLE.

-- 5. CANNABIS. SODC ADMITS CANNABIS CULTIVATION IN
VIETNAM'S SOUTHERN PROVINCES OF DONG NAI, AN GIANG AND DONG
THAP. HOWEVER, THE AREA IS RELATIVELY SMALL. SODC HAS NO
FIGURE AVAILABLE ON HOW MANY HECTARES OF CANNABIS PLANTS
WERE UPROOTED IN THESE PROVINCES. CANNABIS ALSO ENTERS
VIETNAM FROM CAMBODIA.

-- 6. POTENTIAL CANNABIS YIELD. NOT APPLICABLE.

-- 7. DRUG SEIZURES IN KILOGRAMS:

STATISTICAL TABLE

SEIZURES 2004 2003 2002

A. COCA LEAF N/A N/A N/A
B. COCAINE PASTE N/A N/A N/A
C. COCAINE BASE N/A N/A N/A
D. COCAINE HCL N/A N/A N/A
E/F.OPIUM 58.6 254.3 462.62
G. HEROIN 240 239.8 53.87
H. CANNABIS 1,021 329.3 234.6
I. OTHERS, BY UNITS
(TUBES OF ADDICTIVE DRUGS) 5,520
(DOSES OF HEROIN) 21,540
(ATS) 39,400

-- 8. ILLICIT LABS. DURING 2004, SODC REPORTED NO LABS
BEING DESTROYED.

-- 9. DOMESTIC CONSUMPTION OF ILLICIT DRUGS. NO AVAILABLE
STATISTICS.

-- 10. ARRESTS.

STATISTICAL TABLE

NUMBER OF ARRESTS BY NUMBER OF CASES/NUMBER OF PERSONS
ARRESTED.

2004 2003 2002

12,000/18,260 10,000/16,000 11,057/17,873

-- 11. USERS.

STATISTICAL TABLE

NUMBER OF REGISTERED DRUG ADDICTS

2004 2003 2002

161,000 152,900 131,000


BOARDMAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 


Myanmar: Military Must Stop Murdering And Jailing Protestors – Bachelet

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Thursday said security forces in Myanmar must “halt their vicious crackdown on peaceful protestors,” following another day of deadly violence across the country on Wednesday... More>>

Syria: Economic Decline, Rising Hunger And Surging Humanitarian Needs

Syria’s fragile economy has “suffered multiple shocks” over the past 18 months, with its currency plummeting and joblessness swelling as people struggle to cover their basic needs, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council ... More>>

OECD: Final Quarter Of 2020 Shows Continued Recovery In G20 International Merchandise Trade

G20 international merchandise trade continued to rebound in the fourth quarter of 2020 ( exports up 7.2% and imports up 6.8%), following the sharp falls seen in the first half of 2020, as lockdown measures affected trade globally. Although growth ... More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs


UNFCCC: Greater Climate Ambition Urged As Initial NDC Synthesis Report Is Published

UN Climate Change today published the Initial NDC Synthesis Report, showing nations must redouble efforts and submit stronger, more ambitious national climate action plans in 2021 if they’re to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise by 2°C—ideally 1.5°C—by the end of the century... More>>


2021: Critical Year To ‘reset Our Relationship With Nature’ – UN Chief

During this time of “crisis and fragility”, the UN chief told the United Nations Environment Assembly on Monday that human well-being and prosperity can be vastly improved by prioritizing nature-based solutions. Painting a picture of the turmoil ... More>>


Paris Agreement: UN Secretary-General António Guterres To Mark U.S. Reentry With Envoy For Climate John Kerry

Watch live at webtv.un.org UN Secretary-General António Guterres will join U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry at an event marking the United States’ reentry into the Paris Agreement this Friday. The discussion with the Secretary-General ... More>>