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Chinese woman gets jail time for growing opium poppies for her hot pot



A woman in China’s Guizhou province was sentenced to prison for growing nearly 1,000 opium poppies on the roof of her apartment building to purportedly use them as a spice for her hot pot.

Key points:

  • The woman, identified only by her surname Zhang, received opium poppy seeds from her father last year.

  • She claimed to use the plants as a spice for her hot pot.

  • Opium poppies produce opium, whose derivatives include drugs like heroin, morphine, codeine, oxycodone.

The details:

  • Zhang planted opium poppy seeds she received from her late father in October 2023 on the rooftop of her building.

  • Police with the Taijiang County Public Security Bureau discovered more than 900 suspicious plants during a routine drone patrol in the area in February. They seized them and later confirmed they were opium poppies.

  • Speaking to authorities, Zhang admitted that she had planned to use the opium poppies as spices for her favorite hot pot dish. The plants produce opium, whose derivatives include drugs such as heroin, morphine, codeine, oxycodone.

  • Last month, the Circuit Court of Taijiang Court sentenced her to six months in jail and a year of suspension. She must also pay 3,000 yuan (approximately $414) in fines.

  • The judge reminded people at the hearing that planting opium poppies is illegal and that authorities should be alerted when they see the plants in public.

  • Under Chinese law, anyone caught planting between 500 and 3,000 opium poppies could receive up to five years in prison, while planting over 3,000 opium poppies could result in a sentence of five years or more.


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