Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars/Drug Dealing

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Dealing drugs is an essential part in Chinatown Wars. It is for one the best way to make money, but you also need drugs in certain missions to be allowed to start it. The main plot mission "Tricks of the Triad" explains how the process works very simply, but here is a more detailed view.

First off, you can carry only 50 drugs at the beginning. But if you do the two Excess Delivery odd jobs and get gold at it, you will be able to carry 100 instead. So doing that very early on is a good idea, as it will make the whole drug dealing business easier on you.

There is a large number of drug dealers (unknown to me at the point I'm writing this) all over the city. They love hidden places, especially alleys. The ones you already know about show up as briefcases on the map. Ones you do not know about yet, show up as small blue dots when you get close to them. To make a dealer "known" you need to go up to him and press select. No need to buy, just opening the menu will do it. From now on this one is a small briefcase icon as well. The exceptions are the "tip off" dealers. They are regular dealers but their icon changed temporary (more about that below). Finding a drug dealer, counts directly towards 100%. So to get 100% you need to find every single drug dealer. For each drug dealer you get 0.07% towards completion.

Drug dealing in general can be done very simply. You buy cheap and you sell expensive, so you make a good profit. Of course you need some money first as well. Do some missions or odd jobs (Tattoos pay good for a start). Now there are three categories. Depressants, Hallucinogens and Powders. Depressants are Weed and Downers. Hallucinogens are Ecstasy and Acid. Powders are Heroin and Coke. Now each of these categories has a price range. The downers are in the 2 to 10 range, Hallucinogens are around 200 to 400 and Powders 900 to 1100. So you can see, before you can even buy one bag of a powder, you will need to sell a lot of weed.

So now where to buy and where to sell what. The game gives you the turf map. It also shows you in which turf they sell and buy which thing. On the left you see the items they sell, so if you need weed, then go to the Jamaicans for example. Now on the right side it shows you what those territories want in drugs. So you buy something from a territory where they supply it (it's cheap there) and sell it to a territory that wants it indicated on the right.

This works to some extent and can help you find drugs (if you have none stashed) if you need them for a trade or a mission. In general I suggest to not do the deals like this. The profits are weak and you spend a lot of time ferrying around between dealers. A much better way is to use the tips.

You will get tips from time to time by email (yellow envelopes, not important mails). Read them and it will tell you what the tip is. There are selling and buying tips. If you go to the trading program on your PDA you will see the latest tips shown in the upper screen. The icons show what drug it is (self explaining) and the arrows tell you what the tip type is. Red arrows means you can buy this drug cheap here, green arrows means this place pays way above normal for this drug.

Now every time you get a tip for a cheap buy, go and buy as much as you can, then stash it in your apartment. Later when you get a tip for selling this drug, you will make a killing. At the start, when you don't have much money (and no large stash) buy drugs normally from territories that supply them when you get a sell opportunity. That alone will make a difference and enlarge your drug empire.

So in short, always use buy tips and stash the drugs. Always use sell tips and buy the drugs from normal sources if you don't have any in your stash.

While buy tips have a limitation of available product, sell tips don't. You can sell them a whole stack of 50 bags all at once and I suggest you try to do that if possible financially for you.

While dealing with drugs, you can always run into a "bust". This means after you exit the dealing screen, you get a two star rating. It's random so you can't really help it. Don't try to shake the rating, instead escape to the nearest safe house, stash the drugs, then save the game. The wanted level will disappear and your drugs are safe.

Also stash the drugs before going on a mission or doing anything else. If you get busted, your drugs will be taken from you. The exceptions are the missions that require you to have some drugs on you as "buy in".

Once you make a profit over $2000 you get the silver safe in your safe house. After dealing both types of powders the golden syringe gets added. The hallucinogens dealing will bring you the Diamond Pillbox. And for the Depressants you get the Jeweled Bong. If you make a loss of 500 or more, you get the wooden spoon. For finding 40 dealers you get the golden binnoculars and for finding 80, you get the titanium briefcase. You can't do anything with them, they are just there to look at.

Now here comes the best bit. After the main mission Carpe 'Dime' you can hijack vans. Now there are two types. One is a truck in white with a star on it, those are the ammunation trucks, leave those alone. The others are all sorts of different vans with a red arrow above them. Now those, are interesting for you. Don't hit them or shoot them, just highjack them straight off. Now the game indicates the closest secluded safehouse with a yellow blip. Follow that blip and park in the marker there. Now you can slit open the interior and grab the drugs that were stashed in that van. In short, free drugs. Selling them is 100% profit. If you stash them and just wait for a tip to sell them expensively, that will maximize your profits without putting any money into the trade yourself.

So good luck in drug dealing!


  • Wooden Spoon - Conferred by the ill favored Wan Kee Tong for making $500 loss.
    • Lose $500 or more a drug sale
  • Silver Safe - Conferred by the most honorable Fut Tze and Dau Jonz Tongs for making $2000 profit.
    • Earn $2000 or more profit on a drug sale
  • Golden Binoculars - Conferred by the Lost Brothers of Junk and Skunk for services in finding 40 dealers.
    • Find 40 dealers
  • The Jeweled Bong - Awarded by the Righteous Brotherhood of Bling in recognition of services rendered in depressant distribution.
    • Buy and sell both depressant types, Weed and Downers
  • Diamond Pillbox - Awarded by the Dance, Dance, Dance Council of Hardcore Mentalists in recognition of services rendered in hallucinagen [sic] distribution.
    • Buy and sell both hallucinogen types, Ecstasy and Acid
  • Platinum Syringe - Awarded by the Agency of Centered Intelligence in recognition of services rendered in powder distribution.
    • Buy and sell both powder types, Heroin and Coke
  • Titanium Briefcase - Bestowed by the Lost Brothers of Junk and Skunk for services rendered above and beyond the call of duty in finding all the dealers.
    • Find all 80 dealers
  • Jeweled Key to the City - Bestowed by the glorious Council of Headmen for services rendered to Triad real estate ownership in owning all available residences.
    • Obtain all 21 safehouses