Hong Kong Customs has stepped up enforcement at all control points with the approach of festive season to clamp down on cross-boundary drug trafficking activities.
Customs officers will stay vigilant at all times to foil attempts by drug traffickers who may take advantage of the busy passenger and cargo flows at the control points during the holidays.
The department will also continue to maintain close contacts with local and overseas enforcement agencies to strengthen intelligence exchange to combat the cross-boundary drug trafficking.
It will also deploy more Customs drug detector dogs to assist in the handling of passengers, luggage and cargo to crack down on drug trafficking activities.
In the first three months of this year, Customs officers at the land boundary control points have detected 51 drug cases and arrested 43 people. For the corresponding period last year, there were 73 cases detected with 66 people arrested.
Of the drug cases which involved people aged below 21 detected in the first quarter, 11 cases were detected with 11 people arrested on their arrival to Hong Kong at the control points. Nineteen people were arrested in 19 cases in the same period last year.
Speaking at a press conference today (April 8), the Head of Customs Drug Investigation Bureau, Mr John Lee, said the department not only employed advanced technology, such as X-ray checkers and ion scanners, but also made use of drug detector dogs to strengthen the department's enforcement against drug trafficking activities.
Mr Lee said that to tie in with the Government's efforts to deter youth from abusing drugs on the Mainland, Hong Kong Customs officers would pay attention to youngsters travelling across the boundary at the control points.
He also appealed to young people not to smuggle drugs, because drug trafficking was a serious offence and offenders would face serious consequences if convicted. Under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, the maximum penalty for drug trafficking is life imprisonment and a fine of $5 million.
Also present at the press conference, the Divisional Commander (Customs Detector Dog), Mr Lam Sze-hau, said that the Customs drug detector dogs played an important role in combating cross-boundary drug trafficking.
The Customs Detector Dog Division has greatly enhanced its drug detecting capability and deterrent effect against drug trafficking with additional resources allocated last year, bringing its strength from 34 to 45 dogs, Mr Lam said.
The new dog members and their handlers have completed their overseas training and returned to Hong Kong. They have been deployed to various control points to carry out their duties in combating drug trafficking activities.
Mr Lam said that in the first three months of this year, the Customs dogs detected four drug cases with three people arrested. Last year, the Customs Detector Dog Division detected 21 drug cases, with a total seizure of $12.59 million worth of drugs and 15 people arrested.
Ends/Wednesday, April 8, 2009