50 Expats Detained in Late Night Shenzhen Drug Raid

By Daniel Mannering, February 23, 2016

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Up to 93 people, including 50 expats, were detained in the early hours of the morning on Sunday in Shenzhen after a massive drug raid in the city's Nanshan District. 

After reportedly being tipped off about alleged illicit drug use at a massive party with both Chinese and expat partygoers, Nanshan Police undertook a coordinated raid, rounding up hundreds of revelers in a tunnel next to an IKEA. As many as 118 partygoers tested positive for drugs, with a majority of them testing positive for marijuana, according to Shenzhen Daily

50 Expats Arrested in Late Night Shenzhen Drug Raid

50 Expats Arrested in Late Night Shenzhen Drug Raid

50 Expats Arrested in Late Night Shenzhen Drug Raid

The rave took place in a tunnel near an IKEA in Shenzhen's Nanshan District

Around 300 people — both Chinese and foreigners, according to eyewitness reports — were placed onto buses and taken to police stations to be tested for drugs.

In an official police statement, the total number of partygoers initially detained was 491, with further raids being carried out by police in Shekou, in which two expats were allegedly arrested in connection with drug distribution:

In the early morning of Feb. 21, 2016, Nanshan police were notified that there were hundreds of people gathering in the tunnel on Beihuan Road engaging in recreational drug use. The police commenced the raid and 491 people were held at the scene. The preliminary tests on 118 people returned positive results (mainly due to cannabis consumption). Another police raid subsequently took place in Shekou after gaining additional leads. Two people involved in distribution were held. So far, 93 people are in administrative detention (including 50 expats). Two people are confirmed to have been arrested (both are expats).

The case is currently under further investigation.

"Two were arrested, the rest are on administrative detention," Sky Gidge, the editor of Shenzhen Daily said.

“They made sure it was my pee, by literally looking at me do it,” one unnamed American expat told the Shenzhen Daily, having been released around 11 am the next morning. He continued by describing the raid as sudden, taking place at around 4 am. He said everyone was told to sit on the ground and treated “like a prisoner of war.”

“It was like a stampede," he added, describing a scene in which police, laden with shields and batons sealed both exits of the tunnel, inspiring panic among the crowd. "My friend almost got run over. If it was more people someone could have definitely got hurt."

50 Expats Arrested in Late Night Shenzhen Drug Raid

50 Expats Arrested in Late Night Shenzhen Drug Raid

The tunnel where the rave took place has hosted similar events every few months for the last two years.

However another expat witness, who also did not wish to be identified, told a slightly different version of events. “People were trying to run away but the police used a very simple but efficient tactic by narrowing the space and getting people to sit down."

It appears that after the urine tests, those who tested positive and negative were separated, with those testing negative being gradually released.

“I feel like this is a way to send a signal to the expat community,” the unnamed American said.

Though the official police statement says that a tip off led to the raid, an individual at the Nanshan District Public Security Sub-bureau said the raids had been planned for “quite a bit of time" and were “special operation by the municipal bureau.”

Speaking to Shenzhen Daily, a Futian District policeman said the unfortunate death of two expats in December of last year may have been caused by drugs, although no official statement has been released.

The tunnel where the rave took place has hosted similar events every few months for the last two years, according to Sina. 'The Real Deal' parties have attracted ‘well-known’ DJs to perform and are openly promoted on social media. 

50 Expats Arrested in Late Night Shenzhen Drug Raid

According to the event’s WeChat account, a popular DJ from Hong Kong was scheduled to perform at the party.

UPDATE (February 23, 2016 at 3:53pm CST): This story has been corrected to reflect that 93 people, 50 of them foreigners, have been put in administrative detention (not arrested, as originally stated) in this weekend's Shenzhen drug raid. 

[Images via Shenzhen Daily, Sina, Youth.cn]

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