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Ethiopian jailed in China’s first khat smuggling case

HANGZHOU, July 22 (Xinhua) — An Ethiopian was sentenced to seven months in jail for trafficking khat to China, marking the first such case in the country, which classed the plant as an illegal drug this year.

The verdict was handed down earlier this month by the Intermediate People’s Court of Hangzhou, capital of east China’s Zhejiang Province.

The defendant, Ibrahim Abdulsemed Abdosh, was also fined 30,000 yuan (about 4,878 U.S. dollars), the judge in the case, Liu Yun, told Xinhua Tuesday.

Chinese customs officers at the Hangzhou International Airport found0.63 kilograms of khat carried by the man, who had flown there from Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, on January 13, Liu said.

She said the man was aware of China’s ban on khat, a leafy plant chewed as a stimulant, but attempted to escape the immigration inspection.

The plant is widely consumed in Africa but uncommon in China, she said.

The World Health Organization has listed khat as a drug of abuse that can create psychological dependence.


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