Part 1: China’s date rape drug dealers embrace Twitter as a virtual billboard
Project Aboveground was born out of initial research into Chinese influence operation during the fall of 2019. During that research, we frequently stumbled upon Chinese language Twitter accounts employing the #香港 or #hongKong hashtags to hawk products and services such as money laundering, carding, counterfeit documents, hacking, sex trafficking/prostitution[i], child pornography[ii] and a significant number of tweets advertising the sale of date rape drugs in the open and clear on twitter as depicted below[iii]. With the recent seizure of 13 pounds (6.05 kilograms) of the date rape drug GBL (Gamma-ButyroLactone) in international mail from China at Washington Dulles International Airport by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers[iv], and 600[v] percent increase in date rape drug seizures by New Zealand’s customs, I thought it time to give some visibility to this foul commerce.
While most readers frequently think of dark and deep web marketplaces as the home of illicit drug sales, their appearance on clear or surface web platforms is nothing new. As far back as 2012, we observed Japanese language advertising on platforms such as Yahoo and Twitter for Crystal Methamphetamine or ice (シャブ) and cannabis (お野菜), favorites amongst Japan consumers, along with other offerings such as Ketamine and MDNA. Interestingly enough, the Japan-based surface web, narcotics market is frequently a competition between China produced (中国産) Crystal Meth and North Korean produced (北朝鮮産) Crystal Meth. With North Korean Crystal Meth considered the premium product and commanding 43% price increase over the Chinese made product for one gram of Crystal Meth.
What makes the current set of twitter dealers different is their nearly exclusive focus on date rape drugs and the accompanying hardcore marketing media. This includes the Twitter dealers (毒枭) posting images and videos of incapacitated victims in real or depicted acts of rape and sexual assault,[vi] [vii] demonstrating the efficacy of their products. In addition to the aforementioned content, some twitter-based dealers also employ small mammals. This vile content includes video demonstrations of product efficacy on rats[viii] and even alleged testing of an aerosol version of a date rape incapacitant on a house pet[ix] [x].
While the vast majority of accounts only tweet in Chinese, using both simplified and traditional characters. The products are offered for sale globally via mail delivery, with dealers often adding “Global order acceptable. Specially for you” in English. One delivery exception is Hubei Province[xi]( 除中国湖北外，全部可以发货). Where apparently due to COVID-19 pandemic, dealers will ship to anywhere in China, except for Hubei province. Twitter remains, for the most part, a virtual billboard to drive potential clients to other channels of communications both China-based such as WeChat (VX/WX, 微信), Tencent’s QQ messaging platform and Tudou (aka Potato 土豆), along with all the more common international messaging platforms such as Skype, LINE, WhatsApp, telegram (TG, 电报) and even Signal. And while the main focus of the accounts and posts appears to function as advertising and marketing, some accounts support communications via Twitter DM (还可以推特私信我[xii]) as well. The majority of Twitter advertised date rape products appear locally sourced from China, with some also originating from Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan, and India.
TERMS – Frequently seen as hashtags
|G水迷药||G shuǐ mí yào||Rape Water|
|KTV捡尸||Jiǎn shī||KTV Zombie|
|K他命||K tā mìng||Ketamine|
|γ-羟基丁酸||G-qiǎngjī dīng suān||GHB|
|七氟烷||Qī fú wán||Sevoflurane – Inhalational anesthetic|
|三唑仑||Sān zuò lún||Triazolam (Halcion)|
|下药||Xiàyào||to Slip a drug into somebody’s drink|
|东莨菪碱||Dōnglàngdàngjiǎn||Scopolamine (Devils Breath)|
|乖乖水||Guāiguāi shuǐ||Obedience Water (GHB/Rohypnol)|
|使蒂诺斯||Shǐ dì nuò sī||Stilnox|
|催情水||Cuīqíng shuǐ||Aphrodisiac water|
|催淫药||Cuīyín yào||Amor Medicine|
|全裸水||Quánluǒ shuǐ||GHB – Nude Water|
|力月西||Lì yuè xī||Midazolam|
|发浪||Fā làng||Debauchery – Qingdao Dialect|
|听话水||Tīnghuà shuǐ||Obedience Water (GHB)|
|咪达唑仑||Mī dá zuò lún||Midazolam|
|唑吡坦||Zuò bǐ tǎn||Zolpidem|
|回春之夜||Huíchūn zhī yè||Passion Night|
|壮阳药||Zhuàngyáng yào||Aphrodisiac Drug for Male|
|夢遊水||Mèngyóu shuǐ||Sleep walking water|
|失忆水||Shīyì shuǐ||Amnesia water|
|失憶水||Shīyì shuǐ||Amnesia Water|
|媚药||Mèi yào||Love Medicine|
|媚药||Mèi yào||Love Medicine|
|弥漫之夜||Mímàn zhī yè||Fulfilled Night|
|性藥局||Xìng yào jú||Sex Drug Pharmacy|
|恶魔丘比特||Èmó qiūbǐtè||Devils Cupid|
|无记忆||Wú jìyì||No Memory|
|春阳素||Chūn yáng sù||UNK”PGYCHEDELIC“|
|母猪水||Mǔ zhū shuǐ||Thailand Sow water|
|氟硝安定||Fú xiāo āndìng||Rohypnol/Flunitrazepam|
|氟硝西泮||Fú xiāo xī pàn||Rohypnol/Flunitrazepam|
|海乐神||Hǎi lè shén||Triazolam (Halcion|
|液体迷魂药||Yètǐ mí hún yào||GHB|
|液态快乐丸||Yètài kuàilè wán||GHB|
|狄乐液||Dí lè yè||Unknown, possible antibiotic Dilox|
|猫女迷情||Māo nǚ míqíng||Catwoman infatuation (Cathinone) [xiii]|
|直男迷药||Zhí nán mí yào||Straight Male date rape drug|
|約會強暴||Yuēhuì qiángbào||Date Rape|
|约会强暴药||Yuēhuì qiángbào yào||Rohypnol/Flunitrazepam|
|羅眠樂||Luó mián lè||Rohypnol/Flunitrazepam|
|肛交神水||Gāngjiāo shén shuǐ||Anal god water （惡魔丘比特/DevilsCupid）|
|蒼蠅水||Cāngyíng shuǐ||Spanish Fly (Fly Water)|
|西班牙苍蝇水||Xībānyá cāngyíng shuǐ||Spanish Fly|
|迷奸水||Míjiān shuǐ||Rape Water/GHB|
|迷情药||Míqíng yào||D-R Drug/Ecstasy|
|迷暈藥||Mí yūn yào||Dizzy, Stun medicine|
|迷药||Mí yào||Triazolam (Halcion)|
|迷药之王||Mí yào zhī wáng||GHB King|
|迷魂药||Mí hún yào||Triazolam (Halcion)|
|酣乐欣||Hān lè xīn||Triazolam (Halcion)|
|金蝙幅||Jīn biānfú||Golden Bat|
|非诚勿扰||Fēichéngwùrǎo||You are the one|
[i] Sex Trafficking/Prostitution
[iii]Translation “#迷药 #春药 #催情 #捡尸 #下药 #玩弄女神 产品下酒里的效果演示，夜店必备，联系方式在主页” (Demonstration of the effects of the product in alcohol, a must-have at the nightclub, contact information on the homepage) “hXXps://twitter[.]com/OnsSoluti/status/1160783701187420160”.
[iv] “Dulles CBP Officers Seize 13 Pounds of LA-bound GBL”. “hXXps://www.cbp[.]gov/newsroom/local-media-release/dulles-cbp-officers-seize-13-pounds-la-bound-gbl”. Mar 5, 2020. “U.S. Customs and Border Protection”.
[v] “Customs sees 600 percent increase in MDMA seizures at New Zealand’s border”. “Michael Morrah”. “hXXps://www.newshub[.]co[.]nz/home/new-zealand/2020/02/customs-sees-600-percent-increase-in-mdma-seizures-at-new-zealand-s-border.html”. Feb 24, 2020. “News Hub”.
[vi] “@rofeeva1”. “hXXps://twitter[.]com/rofeeva1/status/1223110358845378560”. Jan 30, 2020.
特別聲明】本快速暈倒型拍肩粉，是最新到的新貨，每天僅售2份，#迷药 #催情药 #三唑仑 #听话水 #迷魂药 #迷晕 #直男迷药 #催情药 #迷情药 #媚药 #催情水 #香港催情水 #澳门催情水 #台湾催情水 #马来催情水]”.
[viii] “迷药迷奸 (Slang for Rape Drug)@p4nSdcakJhJB5mz”. “hXXps://twitter[.]com/p4nSdcakJhJB5mz/status/1227824952151179264”. Feb 12, 2020. “Twitter”.
[ix] “迷药春药催情药壮阳药 全球接单 @nUwRpzsVcrteKYG”. “hXXps://twitter[.]com/nUwRpzsVcrteKYG/status/1235015279140163584” Mar 3, 2020. “Twitter”
[x] 迷药春药催情药壮阳药 全球接单 @nUwRpzsVcrteKYG”. “hXXps://twitter[.]com/nUwRpzsVcrteKYG/status/1235015590366121986” Mar 3, 2020. “Twitter”
[xi] “成人保健品.5年诚信 @WX1152364730”. “hXXps://twitter[.]com/WX1152364730/status/1233986176270225409”. Feb 29, 2020. “Twitter”.
[xii] “杰克世家 @Sm6999”. “hXXps://twitter[.]com/Sm6999/status/1238825984377237509”. Mar 14, 2020, “Twitter”.
[xiii] “癡情男網購「貓女迷情水」 驗出毒品反應遭逮”. “hXXtps://www.luzhou.police.ntpc[.]gov[.]tw/cp-630-43261-23.html”. Mar, 20 2018. “Luzhou Precinct, New Taipei City Police Department”.