´╗┐Customs uncovers opium in express air cargo (with photos)

25 May 2010

Hong Kong Customs yesterday (May 24) uncovered a drug trafficking case at the express cargo terminal of Hong Kong International Airport and seized 12 items of clothing weighing five kilogrammes. The clothes were soaked with opium with an estimated value of $100,000. The opium was being smuggled from Laos to the USA via Hong Kong.

Yesterday, Customs officers of the Airport Command inspected a parcel declared as "cotton woven dresses", being transshipped from Laos to the USA. The officers found the smell of the clothes inside the carton unusual and conducted further examinations. The result of subsequent tests confirmed that the clothes were all soaked with opium. The case is still under investigation.

In August 2009, Hong Kong Customs arrested an incoming passenger at the airport for bringing in clothing soaked with cocaine solvent.

This case is the first time Hong Kong Customs has detected the use of a similar method for trafficking opium by means of express air cargo. Since September 2009, Hong Kong Customs has detected six cases of trafficking opium to the USA at the express cargo terminals of the airport.

Hong Kong Customs has strengthened enforcement action at all control points in support of the Government's strategy to combat drugs. Customs officers are on high alert at all times to foil attempts by drug traffickers to take advantage of the heavy flow of passengers and cargo at the control points. Customs will continue to make use of advanced technology, intelligence analysis, risk assessment and international co-operation to crack down on drug trafficking activities.

Under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, drug trafficking is a serious offence, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of $5 million.

Ends/Tuesday, May 25, 2010

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