Cablegate: 2009-2010 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report
DE RUEHGP #1062/01 3060438
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 020438Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7386
INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHDC
UNCLAS SINGAPORE 001062
INL - J. LYLE
EAP/MTS - M. COPPOLA
EAP/RSP - J. VORDERSTRASSE
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM SNAR ECON ETRD PREL SN
SUBJECT: 2009-2010 INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS CONTROL STRATEGY REPORT
(INCSR) PART I, DRUGS AND CHEMICAL CONTROL
REF: STATE 97309
1. (U) Per reftel instructions, Post submits its draft 2009-2010
International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, Drugs and Chemical
Control Section, Volume 1.
2. (SBU) Begin text.
The Government of Singapore (GOS) enforces stringent
counter-narcotics policies through strict laws -- including the
death penalty and corporal punishment -- vigorous law enforcement,
and active prevention programs. Singapore is not a producer of
narcotics, but as a major regional financial and transportation
center, it is an attractive target for money launderers and drug
transshipment. Singapore is widely recognized as one of the least
corrupt countries in the world. Corruption cases involving
Singapore's counter-narcotics and law enforcement agencies are rare,
and their officers regularly attend U.S.-sponsored training programs
as well as regional forums on drug control. Singapore is a party to
the 1988 United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in
Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (UN Drug Convention).
II. Status of Country.
In 2008, there was no known production of illicit narcotics in
Singapore. Singapore is one of the busiest transshipment ports in
the world. The sheer volume of cargo passing through makes it
likely that some illicit shipments of drugs and chemicals move
undetected. With few exceptions, Singapore does not screen
containerized shipments unless they enter its customs territory.
Neither Singapore Customs nor the Immigration and Checkpoints
Authority (ICA) keeps data on in-transit or transshipped cargo
unless a Singapore consignee is involved in the shipment.
According to Government of Singapore (GOS) figures, authorities
arrested 1,925 drug abusers in 2008, compared to 2,166 in 2007.
Arrests of first-time offenders decreased to 508 in 2008 from 520 in
2007. In 2008 arrests of repeat drug offenders decreased to 1,417
as compared to 1,691 in 2007. Synthetic drug abusers, including
abusers of methamphetamine, MDMA, Erimin-5, Buprenophine
hydrochloride, and Nimetazepam, comprised 51 percent of total drug
abusers in 2008, a drop from 63 percent in 2007. However, the most
significant increase was registered in the number of heroin abusers:
during 2007 heroin offenders accounted for 31 percent of total drug
abusers; in 2008, they accounted for 46 percent. Slight decreases
were observed in the number of MDMA, Ketamine, and Nimetazepam
abusers in 2008, while Buprenorphine abusers significantly decreased
from 38 percent of all drug abusers in 2007 to 19 percent in 2008.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2008
Singapore continues to pursue a strategy of demand and supply
reduction for drugs. The GOS has worked closely with numerous
international groups dedicated to drug education, including the
Partnership for a Drug-Free America. In addition to arresting drug
traffickers, Singapore focuses on arresting and detaining drug
abusers for treatment and rehabilitation, providing drug
detoxification and rehabilitation, and offering vigorous drug
education in its schools. Singapore citizens and permanent
residents are subject to random drug tests. The Misuse of Drugs Act
gives the Singapore Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) the authority to
commit drug abusers to rehabilitation centers for mandatory
treatment and rehabilitation. Individuals testing positive for
consumption of narcotics are held accountable for narcotics consumed
abroad as well as in Singapore.
Singapore has continued efforts to curb abuse of synthetic drugs,
among which Ketamine is the most prevalent. Anyone in possession of
more than 113g of Ketamine is presumed to be trafficking in the drug
and can face maximum penalties of 20 years imprisonment and 15
strokes of the cane.
Repeat synthetic drug abusers are subject to long-term imprisonment.
Those arrested for a third time are subject to up to seven years
imprisonment and seven strokes of the cane, and up to 13 years
imprisonment and 12 strokes of the cane for subsequent offenses.
Singapore's long-term imprisonment regime is a contributing factor
in curbing the country's heroin use.
The Misuse of Drugs Act classifies Buprenorphine, the active
ingredient in Subutex, as a Class A Controlled Drug. This means
that, unless dispensed by a licensed physician or practitioner, the
importation, distribution, possession, or consumption of Subutex is
a felony offense. Subutex is a heroin substitute clinically used in
the detoxification and rehabilitation of heroin addicts.
Law Enforcement Efforts.
In 2008, authorities executed 41 major operations and dismantled 25
drug syndicates. Most arrests occurred during sweeps of drug
distribution groups that had been infiltrated by undercover
Singapore narcotics officers.
CNB officers frequently perform undercover work, purchasing small,
personal-use amounts of narcotics from generally low- and mid-level
traffickers and drug abusers. These sweeps often produce additional
arrests when subjects present at arrest scenes test positive for
narcotics in their system.
A new trafficking trend observed in 2008 was the use of Singaporean
females as couriers for West African drug trafficking groups.
Several Singaporean women were arrested in Asia, Europe, and South
America while attempting to receive or deliver drugs. The Government
of Singapore has created public service announcements to warn women
of West African men attempting to gain their trust and induce them
to assist in drug trafficking activities.
Singapore's CNB seized the following quantities of narcotics in
2008: 44.2 kg of heroin; 3.3 kg of cannabis; 6,948 tablets of MDMA;
1.8 kg of crystal Methamphetamine; 1,130 tablets of tablet
Methamphetamine; 13.5 kg of Ketamine; 37,181 Nimetazepam tablets;
and 2,092 Buprenorphine tablets.
Singapore's Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB)
investigates allegations of corruption at all levels of government.
Neither the government nor any senior government officials are known
to engage in, encourage, or facilitate the production or
distribution of narcotics or other controlled substances or the
laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. The CNB is
charged with enforcing Singapore's counter-narcotics laws. Its
officers and other elements of the Singapore Police Force are
well-trained professional investigators.
Agreements and Treaties.
Singapore is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN
Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol,
and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Singapore
and the United States continue to cooperate in extradition matters
under the 1931 U.S.-UK Extradition Treaty. Singapore and the United
States signed a Drug Designation Agreement (DDA), a mutual
assistance agreement limited to drug cases, in November 2000.
Singapore has signed mutual legal assistance agreements with Hong
Kong and ASEAN. The United States and Singapore have held
discussions on a possible bilateral MLAT, most recently in December
2005, although there have been no formal negotiations since 2004.
Singapore has ratified the UN Convention against Transnational
Organized Crime but has not signed any of its protocols. Singapore
has signed but not ratified the UN Convention against Corruption.
Singapore's domestic legislation allows for mutual legal assistance
cooperation with countries with which Singapore does not have a
There was no known cultivation or production of narcotics in
Singapore in 2008.
Singapore is one of the busiest seaports in the world.
Approximately 80 percent of the goods flowing through its port are
in transit or are transshipped and do not enter Singapore's customs
area. Similarly, the Port of Singapore is the second largest
transshipment port in the world for cargo containers destined for
the United States. According to Government of Singapore statistics,
in 2008, 1.6 million gross tons (GT) of shipping passed through the
maritime Port of Singapore. This represents an increase of 11
percent from the previous record of 1.5 million GT set in 2007.
Given the extraordinary volume of cargo shipped through the port, it
is highly likely that some of it contains illicit materials. In
2008 there were instances of drugs being shipped through Singapore
to final destinations elsewhere in Asia.
Singapore does not require shipping lines to submit data on the
declared contents of transshipment or transit cargo unless there is
a Singapore consignee to the transaction. The lack of such
information creates enforcement challenges. Singapore Customs
authorities rely on intelligence to uncover and interdict illegal
shipments. They reported no seizures of transit or transshipped
cargoes involving illicit narcotics shipments in 2008. GOS
officials have been reluctant to impose tighter reporting or
inspection requirements at the port, citing concerns that
inspections could interfere with the free flow of goods, thus
jeopardizing Singapore's position as the region's primary
When Singapore scrutinizes goods, it does so primarily as part of an
enhanced posture to combat terrorism and control the proliferation
of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their precursors. In 2003
Singapore became the first Asian port to join the Container Security
Initiative (CSI), under which U.S. Customs personnel prescreen
U.S.-bound cargo. Singapore also participates in other
counterterrorism-related programs, such as the Proliferation
Security Initiative and the Megaports Initiative. Singapore
implemented an expanded strategic goods control list effective
January 2008. While these initiatives aim to prevent WMD from
entering the United States, the increased scrutiny and information
they generate could also aid drug interdiction efforts.
Singapore is a major regional aviation hub. In 2008, Changi
International Airport handled 37.7 million passengers, a 3 percent
increase over 2007 figures. The Changi Airfreight Center is one of
the world's busiest and operates as a free trade zone where
companies can move, consolidate, store, or repack cargo without need
for documentation or payment of customs duties.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction.
Singapore uses a combination of punishment and rehabilitation
against first-time drug offenders. Rehabilitation of drug abusers
typically occurs during incarceration. The government may detain
addicts for rehabilitation for up to three years. Similarly, under
Singapore's "three strikes" laws, third-time convicted drug
offenders are subject to a minimum of five years imprisonment and
three strokes of the cane. In an effort to discourage drug use
during travel abroad, CNB officers may require urinalysis tests for
Singapore citizens and permanent residents returning from outside
the country. Those who test positive are treated as if they had
consumed the illegal drug in Singapore. Depending on the quantity
of drugs involved, convicted drug traffickers may be subject to the
death penalty, regardless of nationality.
Adopting the theme, "Prevention: The Best Remedy," Singapore
authorities organize sporting events, concerts, plays, and other
activities to reach out to all segments of society on drug
prevention. Drug treatment centers, halfway houses, and job
placement programs exist to help addicts reintegrate into society.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Singapore and the United States enjoy good law enforcement
cooperation with respect to narcotics issues under the DDA. In
2008, approximately 12 GOS law enforcement officials attended drug
training courses at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA)
under the terms of the DDA, the GOS has cooperated with the United
States and other countries in the forfeiture of drug-related
proceeds discovered in Singapore banks, including the equitable
sharing of such funds with the United States.
The Road Ahead.
The United States will continue to work closely with Singapore
authorities on all narcotics trafficking and related matters.
Increased customs cooperation under CSI and other initiatives will
help further strengthen law enforcement cooperation.