Hong Kong Customs detects methamphetamine trafficking case by sea worth about $170 million through international controlled delivery operations (with photos)

28 Aug 2023

​Hong Kong Customs on July 12 detected a large-scale seaborne methamphetamine trafficking case at the Kwai Chung Customhouse Cargo Examination Compound and seized about 240 kilograms of suspected methamphetamine with an estimated market value of about $170 million. Three men and one man suspected to be connected with the case were arrested in Hong Kong and Sydney, Australia, respectively between August 23 and 25.

Through risk assessment and intelligence exchange, Customs inspected a 40-foot seaborne container, declared as carrying synthetic leather rolls and arriving in Hong Kong from Mexico, at the Kwai Chung Customhouse Cargo Examination Compound on July 12. Upon examination, Customs officers found about 600 rolls of synthetic leather inside the container, 40 of which concealed a total of about 3 600 packs of suspected methamphetamine with each weighing about 65 grams. The total weight of the drugs amounted to about 240kg.

After in-depth investigations, Customs believed the batch of suspected methamphetamine would be shipped to Australia and hence swiftly contacted the Australian law enforcement agencies to arrange international controlled delivery operations. The Australian law enforcement officers later arrested a 28-year-old man suspected to be connected with the case in Sydney on August 23, and Hong Kong Customs officers arrested three local men, aged between 44 and 71, suspected to be connected with this case in Kwai Chung and North Point on August 24 and 25. One of the locally arrested persons was the director of the consignee company, whereas the other two were the person-in-charge and a staff member of the logistics company.

An investigation is ongoing. The three men arrested in Hong Kong were released on bail pending further investigation and the likelihood of further arrest is not ruled out.

Customs will continue to fiercely combat cross-boundary drug trafficking activities through proactive risk management and intelligence-based enforcement strategies, along with close co-operation with law enforcement agencies worldwide and strengthened mutual intelligence exchanges.

Under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, trafficking in a dangerous drug is a serious offence. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $5 million and life imprisonment.

Members of the public may report any suspected drug trafficking activities to Customs' 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or its dedicated crime-reporting email account (crimereport@customs.gov.hk) or online form (eform.cefs.gov.hk/form/ced002/).

Ends/Monday, August 28, 2023

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