I wonder what was in Gareth’s saddle bag when he returned from North Korea?

Having been pinged for trying to dominate the word’s defences with Photoshop, it appears cash strapped North Korea has found some inspiration becoming the world’s Heisenberg

…North Korea is pumping out massive quantities of methamphetamine – or crystal meth, the addictive drug cooked up by a chemistry teacher in the dark US drama Breaking Bad.

A new study reveals vast quantities are being made for export by state-trained scientists in collusion with corrupt officials and criminal gangs in a country desperate for hard currency.

Inevitably, it has ended up creating a catastrophic epidemic back home. In some parts of the country up to 50 per cent of the population are reported to be hooked.

The study discloses drug abuse has reached ‘remarkable proportions and keeps growing, engulfing new social groups and regions’.

The inquiry, by two South Korea-based academics, is based on interviews with 21 recent defectors. It confirms earlier evidence from the US and China, where there are soaring levels of crystal meth addiction in border regions with North Korea.

Some reports say that as many half their own population are now crack heads – with the resource strapped country trying to turn it into a cure-all.

Perhaps most remarkably, the trade began as a state-sponsored exercise.

The nation, hit hard by the collapse of the Soviet Union which supported it with aid, began making methamphetamine in large laboratories in its poorer northern regions for export.

These were scaled down about eight years ago as the drug began flooding back into the country.

But instead of slowing down production, this sparked explosive growth in crystal meth manufacture.

Jobless scientists and technicians created their own ‘kitchen labs’, teaming up with smuggling gangs that blossomed during a deadly famine in the Nineties.

‘They were rather old people and their lives were tough,’ one defector told the report’s authors. ‘Private entrepreneurs began to look for such people and employ them.’

Users include soldiers in the world’s most militarised state, women taking it for weight control and sick people unable to access medicines in a country with such chronic healthcare  that doctors use old beer bottles for hospital drips.

I can’t wait for David Cunliffe and Russel Norman to nationalise New Zealand’s meth industry in a similar way.  Think how much cheaper it would be!

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.