27 Oct 2020

Tonga pushes through tough new drug laws

4:49 pm on 27 October 2020

Tonga's parliament has toughened the country's drug laws by amending the Illicit Drug Control Act.

Illicit drugs and firearms seized by police in Tonga.

Illicit drugs and firearms seized by police in Tonga. Photo: Tonga Police

The measure, which aims to control the use of methamphetamine, got unanimous support from MPs.

The acting Justice Minister Samiu Vaipulu told the House that 'ice' is Tonga's killing virus, not Covid-19 which has not been detected in the country.

Mr Vaipulu said the amendment was based on New Zealand's Drug Act.

The bill deems that a father who knows his son is dealing with drugs can also be charged.

Matangi Tonga reports that Mr Vaipulu got emotional when he told the House the youngest Tongan hooked on methamphetamine is just 13 years old.

Under the new bill anybody caught with 28 grams of meth faces a life sentence or $1 miliion pa'anga fine.

Police powers have also been increased, including being able to shoot out the tyres of vehicles driven by suspected drug dealers, and more access to enter private homes.

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