Wednesday, July 18, 2012

DRUG TRAFFIC.BODIES IN RIVER FLOATING corpse mystery. TIENTSIN. Officially no one knows why more than 300 bodies of Chinese coolies were found floating down the Haiho River here last year, or why 150 more have been found this summer in Tientsin's "floating corpse mystery." It is still classed as a mystery, most observers believe, only because it is a by-product of a great international narcotics traffic. Tientsin, thriving crossroads of Far Eastern narcotics dealings, has recently been called the narcotics capital of the world. Subjects involving this international trade are best left alone by Chinese authorities hampered by extraterritorial treaties; are rarely mentioned by the Japanese, who the Chinese say are responsible, and are seldom referred to in anything but confidential official reports by Consular and diplomatic officials of other countries. Unofficially, however, evidence has been pieced together to indicate that many of the victims were narcotic addicts who had been dumped in the river, perhaps before death, to save burial expenses. Several Chinese coolies were arrested recently when cpught carrying the bodies of narcotic addicts toward the rher from the Japanese concession, where hundreds of small narcotic shops exist beyond the reach of Chinese authority. Fee for Murder. In one case the victim was still alive, and was abla to gasp out the 6tory of his migration from a village in the interior in search of work, his learning to use narcotics, and his gradual cnfeeblement. As death neared he was turned over to his pallbearers to be consigned to the Haiho at a fee of 12 cents, the cheapest coffin in Tientsin costs at least 50 cents, and it is Chinese custom that the owner of the property on which a man dies must pay his funeral expenses. While this man's case may not have een typical, the sensation his storv caused was followed by a wholesale clean-up campaign by the Japanese concession authorities. While strenuously denying that Japanese had anything to do with the floating corpses, they, rounded up hundreds of Chinese beggare and narcotics addicts about Japanese and Korean dens and shunted them into the Chinese city. More than 1000 of these vagrants are now and housed by the Chinese authorities: When Chinese publicity brought ilife "floating corpse Tnyeterv" to public attention, the practice suddenly ended. No more corpses' floated to the docks. Auckland Star, Volume LXVIII, Issue 210, 4 September 1937, Page 19

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