Hong Kong Customs officers made a record seizure of 160 kilograms of high-grade cocaine with street value of HK$110 million on July 24.
The Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Mr Richard Yuen Ming-fai, today (July 27) said: "This successful case demonstrates the Hong Kong Customs" determination and ability to detect and prevent smuggling of narcotics and illicit substances through our port. We will continue to use effective risk assessment, analysis of intelligence, and advanced drug-detecting equipment and vigilant narcotics detector dogs to assist our work."
He commended the staff for their alertness and professionalism in cracking the case.
Briefing the media about the case, the Head of Customs Drug Investigation Bureau, Mr Ben Leung, said, "Drug traffickers may attempt to take advantage of Hong Kong"s well-established transportation network to smuggle dangerous drugs. However, our unremitting law enforcement will continue to deter transnational drug trafficking activities and send a clear message to drug traffickers that they will suffer great loss in contravening law."
In July, officers of Customs Drug Investigation Bureau (CDIB) mounted a joint operation codenamed "Operation Hippo" with the Ports and Maritime Command (PMC), targeting cargoes from high-risk sources.
They conducted customs clearance on the cargoes of a container vessel arriving from Panama. After risk assessment, customs officers selected two containers which were said to be containing "purified water" for examination.
On July 24, officers opened the two containers for examination after X-ray scanning at Kwai Chung Customshouse. With the assistance of X-ray and drug detector dogs, Customs officers seized a total of 160 kilograms of high-grade cocaine concealed inside the 80 wooden pallets on which bottles of purified water were placed.
Seven Hong Kong people (five men and two women), aged between 23 and 51, were arrested.
Customs believed that the drugs seized were intended for transshipment to other places.
Under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, Chapter 134, Laws of Hong Kong, drug trafficking is a serious offence, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of HK$5 million.
Ends/Friday, July 27, 2007