Record seizure of cocaine valued about $10.2 million at Airport

5 Dec 2004

Customs officers made a record seizure of cocaine at the passenger terminal of Hong Kong International Airport on December 4.

They seized from an incoming local passenger 10.3 kg of cocaine with an estimated local retail value of $10.2 million. This was the second cocaine trafficking case cracked by Customs officers at the Airport in the past week.

At 11.20 am while conducting an anti-narcotics operation at the Arrival Hall, Customs officers intercepted for examination a local man who had arrived in Hong Kong from Lima, Peru (South America) via Amsterdam (Europe).

As a result, two plastic bags of cocaine weighing about 10.3 kg in total were uncovered from the concealed compartments of a suitcase the man carried. The two bags of drugs were concealed inside the top and bottom layers of the suitcase respectively, each covered by a hard glued cover believed to be used for evasion of customs detection.

The arrested man, aged 72, will be charged with "trafficking in a dangerous drug" under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, and will appear in Tsuen Wan Magistrates?Courts on December 6.

The maximum penalty for the offence of "trafficking in a dangerous drug" is a fine of $5 million and life imprisonment.

The Head of the Customs Drug Investigation Bureau, Mr Ben Leung, said today (December 5), ??粳re is a rising trend of cocaine smuggling from South America via Europe into Hong Kong, as evidenced by an increase in cocaine seizures. Transnational drug trafficking crimes transcend geographical boundaries and become more sophisticated. In order to strengthen the fight against narcotics trafficking activities, Hong Kong Customs will continue to work closely with the Hong Kong Police and liaise with its overseas counterparts on international cooperation and intelligence exchange.

"With the Christmas holidays approaching, Customs officers will step up enforcement actions to combat this kind of illicit activity," he said.

Ends/Sunday, December 5, 2004

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