The 1925 Opium Purchasing Campaign in Laos: The Anatomy of a Colonial Scandal
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Opium purchasing campaigns, initiated in 1915, were abruptly interrupted ten years later following the discovery that the Douanes & Régies of the General Government of Indochina had been victim of a gigantic fraud. Various inquiries expedited with a view to establishing responsibility for the fiasco, involving purchases made at Luang Prabang in 1925, highlight the dysfunctions affecting the colonial civil service. The 1925 scandal revealed not only the difficulties encountered by the French in their attempts to control the drug trade, but also the prevailing circumstantial inefficiency of the colonial bureaucracy.
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