chinese flag image

BEIJING: A number of Australians are facing the death penalty in China after being charged with serious drug offences.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said an unspecified number of Australians had been detained, but it would not reveal any further detail on specific cases.

“We are aware that a number of Australians have been detained in China on serious drug charges,” it said. “These individuals are receiving appropriate consular assistance.”

Government sources would not say how many Australians had been arrested but that a “number” of Australians have been charged over drug offences since late last year, although they had not yet been through the full judicial process.

Asked whether they faced the death penalty, a senior source said: “It’s conceivable, but depends on the process of the judicial system.

“They are serious cases and we are not taking them lightly.

“Chinese laws mandate an immediate death sentence for serious drugs offences,” the source added.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Thursday altered its travel advice to China specifically to warn of the dangers of drug possession and trafficking in China and the potential for the death penalty to be imposed for the most serious offences

“In 2014, a number of foreigners have been arrested and executed for trafficking significant quantities of drugs,” it said.

To date, no Australians have been executed under China’s tough anti-drugs laws, but other foreign nationals have.

Henry Sapiecha

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *