Chinese professor accused in 'Breaking Bad' drugs plot

Bryan Cranston as Walter White, left, and Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in a scene from Breaking Bad Image copyright AP
Image caption The Chinese media compared the Xian professor to Walter White from Breaking Bad

Police in China have arrested a chemistry professor for his part in producing a psychoactive drug in a case that has been likened to US crime drama Breaking Bad.

State agency Xinhua said 17 people were arrested including a Xian university professor alleged to have helped provide the recipe for methcathinone.

Police seized 128kg (282lb) of the drug and more than 5m yuan ($806,095; £519,450).

The drug lab was raided last year.

'Walter White wannabe'

The local public security bureau announced the arrests on Tuesday.

The bureau said an investigation had found the professor, whose surname is Lu, had provided the recipe for the white powder stimulant methcathinone, known as cat, in May 2013.

In Breaking Bad, high school chemistry teacher, Walter White, turns to crime producing and selling crystallized methamphetamine, or crystal meth.

The suspect in charge of drug production was the head of a chemical plant in east China's Jiangsu province who has previously served time in prison for drugs offences, police said.

Local media said the professor, in his fifties, met the man and said he had a recipe for a new drug. Manufacturing, trafficking and transporting is alleged to have started from September 2013.

The police investigation took them to many cities and provinces including Beijing, Shanxi, Shandong, Henan and Anhui.

A Chinese website called it the "real version of Breaking Bad" and one blog comment called the professor a Walter White "wannabe".

Chinese state media has cited the government as saying the country has 14 million drug users, about 1% of the population.

Last year, China's President Xi Jinping called for "forceful measures" to tackle illegal drug use.

The country has been known to impose the death penalty for drug trafficking.

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