50 Expats Busted for Drug Use At Shenzhen Rave

118 of 491suspects tested positive for drugs

Laowai Behaving Badly Rule of Law

A police raid on a huge rave in Shenzhen has resulted in the detention of 93 suspects, including 50 foreign nationals suspected of consuming illegal drugs.

491 of the partygoers were subjected to urine tests by police, 118 of which tested positive for drugs. Police can hold the suspects under administrative detention for up to 15 days.

shenzhen tunnel rave drug bust

Local police conducted the raid in the early morning of February 21. The rave, which wasn’t the first at the location, was held at a tunnel located under an overpass on the city’s north ring road, near a local IKEA. Nanshan police claim the rave was organized by a local business who has been organizing them at the location for a number of years.

shenzhen tunnel rave drug bust

An unidentified expat in attendance, described as “the American” told the Shenzhen Daily that the raid started at 4am, after which all of the partygoers were put on buses, and taken to the police station for drug testing. The American described the experience as being “like a prisoner of war”. Police arrived equipped with riot shields and batons, sparking panic among everyone. “It was like a stampede. My friend almost got run over. If it was more people someone could have definitely got hurt,” he said.

The man bluntly warned other expats who frequent the rave of his experience: “I feel like this is a way to send a signal to the expat community,” he said.

Based on information obtained during the raid, police also arrested two male, foreign nationals at an alleged “drug den” in Shekou.

shenzhen tunnel rave drug bust

According to an unidentified police officer, quoted by Xinhua, “Foreigners accounted for over half of the detainees, which suggests a serious problem of drug use among foreigners in Shenzhen.” A spokesperson for the Nanshan District police said the raids had been planned for “quite a bit of time.”

shenzhen tunnel rave drug bust

Openly advertising their events, the rave regularly invited international DJs to perform at their events. A DJ from Hong Kong had been scheduled for this past weekend.


Expats have been subjected to on-the-spot drug tests during police raids before, most notably last year at a local Beijing music venue. As well, police have been known to use information obtained from Facebook accounts to arrest expats suspected of drug use.

Charles Liu

The Nanfang's Senior Editor