In response to press enquiries on khat leaves trafficking in Hong Kong, the Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) today (November 8) reiterates that stringent enforcement actions and intelligence exchanges with local and overseas law enforcement agencies have all along been taken to suppress activities of transnational trafficking in drugs of different types.
"The C&ED has been taking vigorous enforcement action to prevent and combat drug trafficking activities. By using risk management approach, Customs officers stationed at boundary control points effectively process passengers, examine cargoes/mail parcels, and search vehicles, vessels and aircraft to intercept illegal drugs," a spokesman for the department said.
"The C&ED also engages the logistics industry's support and strengthens co-operation with law enforcement agencies outside Hong Kong in combating transnational drug trafficking activities," he further said.
With regard to khat leaves, the spokesman noted that the leaves contain traces of cathinone and cathine, which are both controlled under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance in Hong Kong.
Khat is an evergreen plant that is abused for its stimulant-like effect. It is native to East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. In Hong Kong, they are usually intercepted by the C&ED in postal and express mails which are destined for Europe and the North America.
Hong Kong Customs has seized over two tonnes of khat leaves so far this year (January to September). In 2014, more than six tonnes were seized. About 1,030 kg and 510 kg were seized in 2016 and 2015 respectively.
"Hong Kong is not a drug transit centre. The C&ED will continue to maintain rigorous enforcement against transnational drug trafficking and enhance enforcement co-operation and intelligence exchanges with local and overseas counterparts," the spokesman stressed.
Ends/Wednesday, November 8, 2017