10 Jun 2004

Academic warns of drug criminals using police weakness

4:17 pm on 10 June 2004

A Pacific Studies academic is warning that other Pacific Island countries with overstretched police forces are likely to be targets of drug makers.

Professor Tupeni Baba of the Centre of Pacific Island Studies at the University of Auckland says instability in parts of the region have meant it has become a target for traffickers and manufacturers.

He says metamphetamine production is very new in the Pacific Islands, but yesterday's bust is a sign that there could be labs in countries such as Vanuatu and Solomon Islands .

"These small countries will not have the capacity to be able to really detect the kind of operations those involved in it have in mind. They see this as opportunities with the unemployment in some of the countries, there will be some element of corruption involved, the local people will be paid off."

Professor Tupeni Baba from Auckland University.