- Scopolamine or 'Devil's Breath' is used by muggers and sexual predators
- Blown into people's faces it can wipe memories, eliminate free will and even kill
- It has only been used in mainland Europe but UK incident was reported last week
- Chinese e-marketplace Alibaba.com is selling it for as cheap as £11 a gram
Published: 10:34 EST, 25 December 2017 | Updated: 10:34 EST, 25 December 2017
A South American 'zombie' chemical branded the most dangerous date rape drug in the world has reportedly reached the UK – and can be bought online for as little as £11.
Scopolamine, also known as hyoscine or 'Devil's Breath', is made from Borrachero trees in Colombia, and used throughout the country to aid sexual predators and robbers.
The odourless powder is blown into people's faces, which once inhaled can cause victims to lose their memory, free will, and in high enough doses, can even kill.
In the past two years cases have been reported in Spain, France and the US. But last month, UK actor Robert Lindsay told Met Police a young woman he knew was attacked with a substance bearing a chilling resemblance to 'Devil's Breath' outside a London night club.
Scopolamine is not a controlled substance under the UK Misuse of Drugs Act, which means it's legal to buy online.
Scopolamine is not a controlled substance under the UK Misuse of Drugs Act, which means it's legal to buy online. It is freely available on Chinese e-marketplace Alibaba.com (pictured), which ships to the UK
While there are restrictions on minimum orders and courier shipping may take a while, one European seller is offering 1g of the drug for just $15 (£11.19). Shipping from China prices range from $20 (£14.91) for 100g to $1,500 (£1,118.55) for a 1kg
It is widely available on the Chinese website Alibaba.com, which ships it anywhere in the world from mainland China and Ukraine.
While there are restrictions on minimum orders, you have to be a registered business, and courier shipping may take a while, one European seller is offering 1g of the drug for just $15 (£11.19).
Shipping from China prices range from $20 (£14.91) for 100g to $1,500 (£1,118.55) for a 1kg.
MailOnline has contacted Alibaba for comment.
According to the National Institute for Health and Clinic Excellence (NICE), small doses of the drug are used to treat nausea and more serious conditions like Cerebral palsy and Alzheimer's.
As of 2017 it does not have a licence allowing it to be mass-marketed in the UK, but doctors can prescribe it in accordance with General Medical Council guidelines.
Scopolamine, also known as hyoscine or 'Devil's Breath', is made from Borrachero trees (pictured) in Colombia, and used throughout the country to aid sexual predators and robbers
My Family actor Robert Linsday tweeted last month to report a friend's daughter had been attacked with a substance with a chilling resemblance to Scopolamine
The drug, also referred to as Burundanga in its native Colombia, is almost impossible to detect, as it disappears from the blood stream in two to six hours and can only be found in urine samples within 12.
This makes it extremely difficult for victims to prove they have been given it – as they don't remember anything and it's untraceable in their system.
Referring to an incident in late November, My Family star Lindsay, 67 wrote on Twitter: 'WARNING! A friend's daughter was recently approached by 3 men outside a London club and a substance blown into her face, in her shock she inhaled.
'Friends came to her aid but within seconds she lost all her sense and couldn't remember a thing. It was a date rape drug. She was saved but girls beware.'
Commenting on his report the Met Police told MailOnline: 'Met Police has not made any seizures of the drug Devil's Breath or scopolamine in the past year.
'We encourage anyone who suspects they have been drugged to contact police.'
The odourless powder is blown into people's faces, which once inhaled can cause victims to lose their memory, free will, and in high enough doses, can even kill
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) warns UK tourists in Colombia and Ecuador of 'criminals who use scopolamine to subdue their victims'.
The travel advice for Colombia reads: 'Scopolamine temporarily incapacitates unsuspecting victims.
IS DEVIL'S BREATH REALLY LEGAL?
Scopolamine, otherwise known as hyoscine or 'Devil's Breath' is not a controlled substance under the UK Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
This means it does not have 'illegal status', and although dangerous, can be shipped to the UK.
It can be bought online on Chinese eBay-style website Alibaba.com.
As long as you have a registered business, UK customers can contact sellers in China and Europe and get quotes for the drug in powder or flower form.
It can then be shipped and successfully passed through the UK border.
'Victims become disoriented quickly and are vulnerable to robbery, sexual assault, rape and other crimes.'
Visitors to Quito, Ecuador are warned: 'Criminals often use drugs to subdue victims.
'Home-made versions of the drug 'scopolamine' leave victims in a subdued, compliant state and cause amnesia.'
A male victim from Jackson Heights, New York, believes he fell prey to the drug after going to a bar for a drink and waking up the next morning later in his bed with no memory and hundreds of dollars withdrawn from his bank account.
The last suspected cases of the drug being used in Europe were in Marbella, Spain a year ago.
A 19-year-old girl was allegedly raped after inhaling the substance near the resort of Puerto Banus in the early hours of New Year's Day 2017.
A 20-year-old girl then reported being raped on waste ground near Estepona after arranging to meet a French man she found on Facebook.
In late 2015 French police investigated two Chinese women, 42 and 59, and a man, 56, for using scopolamine to rob dozens of victims in Paris.
A Colombian drug dealer called Demencia Black spoke to Vice about how the drug is used to aid criminal activity. He said: 'You can guide them wherever you want…It's like they're a child.'
One was forced to hand over 100,000 euros (£87,815) after being hoodwinked by the drug, reported French newspaper Le Parisien.
A Colombian drug dealer called Demencia Black spoke to Vice about how the drug is used to aid criminal activity.
He said: 'You can guide them wherever you want…It's like they're a child.'
He compared 1g of scopolamine to 1g of cocaine, but warned 'in high doses, it is lethal'.
In ancient times it was given to the mistresses of dead Colombian leaders – they were told to enter their master's grave, where they were buried alive.
During the Cold War the CIA and KGB are said to have use duty as a truth serum while Nazi 'Angel of Death'
The Soviets and the CIA reportedly used it as a truth serum during the Cold War, while Auschwitz 'Angel of Death' Joseph Mengeles is said to have had it imported from South America for personal use and the Gestapo.
The post Colombian Devils Breath drug could be in UK online for £11 appeared first on News Wire Now.
Sydney seaplane crash: Exhaust fumes affected pilot, report confirms
The pilot of a seaplane that crashed into an Australian river, killing all on board, had been left confused and disorientated by leaking exhaust fumes, investigators have confirmed.
The Canadian pilot and five members of a British family died in the crash north of Sydney in December 2017.
All were found to have higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, a final report has found.
It recommended the mandatory fitting of gas detectors in all such planes.
British businessman Richard Cousins, 58, died alongside his 48-year-old fiancée, magazine editor Emma Bowden, her 11-year-old daughter Heather and his sons, Edward, 23, and William, 25, and pilot Gareth Morgan, 44. Mr Cousins was the chief executive of catering giant Compass.
The family had been on a sightseeing flight in the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver plane when it nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River at Jerusalem Bay, about 50km (30 miles) from the city centre.
The final report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) confirmed the findings of an interim report published in 2020.
It said pre-existing cracks in the exhaust collector ring were believed to have released exhaust gas into the engine bay. Holes left by missing bolts in a firewall then allowed the fumes to enter the cabin.
“As a result, the pilot would have almost certainly experienced effects such as confusion, visual disturbance and disorientation,” the report said.
“Consequently, it was likely that this significantly degraded the pilot’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.”
The ATSB recommended the Civil Aviation Safety Authority consider mandating the fitting of carbon monoxide detectors in piston-engine aircraft that carry passengers.
It previously issued safety advisory notices to owners and operators of such aircraft that they install detectors “with an active warning” to pilots”. Operators and maintainers of planes were also advised to carry out detailed inspections of exhaust systems and firewalls.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55862128
Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official
Australia is unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021 even if most of its population gets vaccinated this year as planned, says a senior health official.
The comments dampen hopes raised by airlines that travel to and from the country could resume as early as July.
Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy made the prediction after being asked about the coronavirus’ escalation in other nations.
Dr Murphy spearheaded Australia’s early action to close its borders last March.
“I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.
“Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he said, adding that he believed quarantine requirements for travellers would continue “for some time”.
Citizens, permanent residents and those with exemptions are allowed to enter Australia if they complete a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.
Qantas – Australia’s national carrier – reopened bookings earlier this month, after saying it expected international travel to “begin to restart from July 2021.”
However, it added this depended on the Australian government’s deciding to reopen borders.
Australia’s tight restrictions
The country opened a travel bubble with neighbouring New Zealand late last year, but currently it only operates one-way with inbound flights to Australia.
Australia has also discussed the option of travel bubbles with other low-risk places such as Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.
A vaccination scheme is due to begin in Australia in late February. Local authorities have resisted calls to speed up the process, giving more time for regulatory approvals.
Australia has so far reported 909 deaths and about 22,000 cases, far fewer than many nations. It reported zero locally transmitted infections on Monday.
Experts have attributed much of Australia’s success to its swift border lockdown – which affected travellers from China as early as February – and a hotel quarantine system for people entering the country.
Local outbreaks have been caused by hotel quarantine breaches, including a second wave in Melbourne. The city’s residents endured a stringent four-month lockdown last year to successfully suppress the virus.
Other outbreaks – including one in Sydney which has infected about 200 people – prompted internal border closures between states, and other restrictions around Christmas time.
The state of Victoria said on Monday it would again allow entry to Sydney residents outside of designated “hotspots”, following a decline in cases.
While the measures have been praised, many have also criticised them for separating families across state borders and damaging businesses.
Dr Murphy said overall Australia’s virus response had been “pretty good” but he believed the nation could have introduced face masks earlier and improved its protections in aged care homes.
In recent days, Australia has granted entry to about 1,200 tennis players, staff and officials for the Australian Open. The contingent – which has recorded at least nine infections – is under quarantine.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55699581
Covid: Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown over single infection
The Australian city of Brisbane has begun a snap three-day lockdown after a cleaner in its hotel quarantine system became infected with coronavirus.
Health officials said the cleaner had the highly transmissible UK variant and they were afraid it could spread.
Brisbane has seen very few cases of the virus beyond quarantined travellers since Australia’s first wave last year.
It is the first known instance of this variant entering the Australian community outside of hotel quarantine.
The lockdown is for five populous council areas in Queensland’s state capital.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the measure on Friday morning local time, about 16 hours after the woman tested positive.
Ms Palaszczuk said the lockdown aimed to halt the virus as rapidly as possible, adding: “Doing three days now could avoid doing 30 days in the future.”
“I think everybody in Queensland… knows what we are seeing in the UK and other places around the world is high rates of infection from this particular strain,” she said.
“And we do not want to see that happening here in our great state.”
Australia has reported 28,500 coronavirus infections and 909 deaths since the pandemic began. By contrast, the US, which is the hardest-hit country, has recorded more than 21 million infections while nearly 362,000 people have died of the disease.The lockdown will begin at 18:00 on Friday (08:00 GMT) in the Brisbane city, Logan and the Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands local government areas.
Residents will only be allowed to leave home for certain reasons, such as buying essential items and seeking medical care.
For the first time, residents in those areas will also be required to wear masks outside of their homes.
Australia has faced sporadic outbreaks over the past year, with the most severe one in Melbourne triggering a lockdown for almost four months.
A pre-Christmas outbreak in Sydney caused fresh alarm, but aggressive testing and contact-tracing has kept infection numbers low. The city recorded four local cases on Friday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has pledged to start mass vaccinations in February instead of March as was planned.
Lockdown interrupts ‘near normal’ life in Brisbane
Simon Atkinson, BBC News in Brisbane
At 8:00 today I popped to the local supermarket for some bread, milk – and because it’s summer here – a mango. I was pretty much the only customer.
When I went past the same shop a couple of hours later it was a different story – 50 people standing in the drizzle – queuing to get inside as others emerged with bulging shopping bags. “Heaps busier than Christmas,” a cheery trolley attendant told me. “It’s off the scale”.
Despite the “don’t panic” messages from authorities, pictures on social media show it’s a pattern being repeated across the city.
While shutdowns are common around the world, the tough and sudden stay-at-home order for Brisbane has caught people on the hop here after months of near normality.
But while such a rapid, hard lockdown off the back of just a single case of Covid-19 will seem crazy in some parts of the world, I’ve not come across too many people complaining.
And I don’t think that’s just because Aussies love to follow a rule. This is the first time the UK variant of the virus has been detected in the community in Australia.
And nobody here wants Brisbane to go through what Melbourne suffered last year. Even if it means going without mangoes.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55582836
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