A laid-off chemical factory worker in Guangzhou has been arrested for allegedly selling the raw materials to make methamphetamines and teaching others how to make the drug in what may be a real-life version of the hit television series Breaking Bad.
The unemployed man, 58 – dubbed “Professor Xu” because of his talent at producing the addictive stimulant crystal methamphetamine using industrial chemicals – was well known among mainland gangs dealing in drugs, police told the Southern Metropolitan Daily.
For the past three years Professor Xu had allegedly travelled around the country, charging 400,000 yuan (HK$505,600) for a week’s instruction into how to make the drug.
He had attracted many willing students among drug-making gangs, the newspaper reported.
Police caught him following a raid at two rented homes in the Haizhu district of Guangzhou on October 30, where they arrested six suspected members of a drugs-making gang, the newspaper said.
Drug-making equipment, including four one-meter-tall distilling pots, plus 290kg of methamphetamines and other raw materials, were allegedly confiscated from the properties.
Professor Xu was arrested the following day.
The newspaper reported that the six suspects told police Professor Xu had often advised them how to produce drugs at the houses.
He had started to produce methamphetamine using industrial chemicals while still working for a local chemical factory several years before, Southern Metropolitan Daily said.
Initially he had allegedly earned money by travelling around China buying industrial chemicals from different chemical factories and then selling the materials to drug producers, it said.
Once he had been detained by police and charged with trading in chemicals for the production of drugs. But he was later released because of the lack of evidence.
About three years ago, following much careful self-study, Professor Xu had become an expert at producing methamphetamine, the newspaper reported.
He then allegedly started travelling around the country teaching drug gangs how to crystallize methamphetamine from industrial chemicals such as ephedrine.
The newspaper said he had also continued to trade in industrial chemicals by posting them to drug gangs using China’s express mail service.
Professor Xu’s lover, a 30-year-old man, had allegedly run an online shop that sold drugs around the country, the newspaper said.
The US crime drama, Breaking Bad – first shown between 2008 and last year – starred Bryan Cranston as struggling high-school chemistry teacher Walter White, who starts to produce and sell crystallized methamphetamine to ensure his family’s future after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.
The award-winning series, which ran to 62 episodes over five seasons, was a huge critical and commercial success.