The Legislative Assembly (AL) passed unanimously on Wednesday a government-initiated bill which adds 21 substances to Macau’s anti-drug law, based on recent decisions passed by the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs that include additional 24 substances subject to international control.
The current anti-drug law was enacted in 2009. The law is officially known as the Law on the Prohibition of the Illicit Production, Trafficking and Consumption of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.
As the government had requested an urgent procedure for the debate and vote of the bill, it was not arranged for review by any of the legislature’s standing committees before its final article-by-article debate and vote. Therefore, after the outline of the bill was passed in Wednesday’s plenary session, its final article-by-article debate and vote were immediately carried out. The lawmakers passed the bill article-by-article.
Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak introduced the outline of the bill duringWednesday’s plenary session in the legislature’s hemicycle.
The Commission of Narcotic Drugs (CND) was established by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 1946 to assist the latter in supervising the application of the international drug control treaties, according to the commission’s website.
Wong noted that according to Macau’s anti-drug law, the local government is required to add new substances to the law, based on new amendments passed by the respective entity of the United Nations.
Wong noted that the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs passed a decision in a meeting in 2017 to list an additional 12 substances subject to international control, and also passed a decision in a meeting last year to list another additional 12 substances subject to international control. Among the 24 additional substances, 21 were not listed in the current version of Macau’s anti-drug law, according to Wong, who noted that the 21 new substances comprise 19 narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, and two substances used as “precursors” to manufacture drugs.
Wong said that therefore the local government drafted the bill proposing to list the 21 additional substances in the anti-drug law, to carry out the obligations under the respective international conventions concerning narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, and also to enable the local government to better take joint action with neighbouring regions and the international community in preventing and combating drug-related crimes.
The bill passed on Wednesday will take effect on the day after its promulgation in the Official Gazette (BO)
The local government previously proposed to list additional substances in the anti-drug law, which was enacted in 2009, on two occasions – 2014 and 2016. The two amendment bills were passed by the legislature.
During Wednesday’s plenary session, Wong also said that the street value of drugs in Macau has reached the triple the street value of drugs in Hong Kong, due to increasingly stronger anti-drug measures by Macau’s law enforcement agencies. He also said that the triple street value was one of the reasons that more young Hong Kong people were trafficking drugs to Macau in recent years.
Meanwhile, Wong also told the legislature there was no need to further toughen Macau’s punishment of drug-related crimes. He pointed out that drug trafficking is punishable by up to 21 years behind bars. Wong pointed out that toughening the penalties further would clash with Macau’s penal system, considering that the maximum prison term for homicide in Macau is 25 years.
Wong also said the claim that Macau was a regional drug “paradise” was not true. He pointed out that the reported cases of drug trafficking and drug consumption are decreasing.