Drugs online... under the guise of porn sites

Drug gangs in the region are using pornography Web sites as fronts for selling drugs like ecstasy, cannabis, heroin and cocaine to addicts.

SINGAPORE--Drug gangs in the region are using pornography Web sites as fronts for selling drugs like ecstasy, cannabis, heroin and cocaine to addicts.

The Web sites are mostly hosted overseas where pornography is not an offence, and are considered to be a more discreet (and less scrutinized) channel than the usual drug-related sites, the Straits Times said.

Most accept credit cards for payment, are open to regular clients only (usually requiring a password), and tend to send the drugs to addicts via ordinary-looking mail.

Citing Singapore's Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) deputy director Eric Tan, the paper said that investigations have revealed no Singapore-based websites which sell drugs.

"There are, however, several hosted overseas offering illicit drugs for sale. These Web sites are outside our legal jurisdiction as they are based overseas," he added.

Japan's Yakuza, for one, is said to make billions of dollars annually by selling sex and drugs, both in cyberspace and on the streets. Some syndicates even use pharmaceutical sites as a front.

According to the paper, the CNB formed an Internet Enforcement Team to tackle Internet drug traffickers last year, and has so far busted three groups of traffickers.

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