Customs record seizure of $11 million worth of MDMA tablets

9 Dec 2004

The Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Mr Timothy Tong, today (December 9) commended Customs officers for making a record Customs seizure of 62 700 MDMA tablets yesterday (December 8).

The seizure, weighing about 16.25 kilograms, could fetch about $11 million if retailed in the market.

With the arrest of four men, aged between 23 and 34, Hong Kong Customs officers believed they had smashed a transnational drug trafficking syndicate.

"The success of this anti-dangerous drugs operation demonstrated our officers' enforcement professionalism and the fruitful cooperation and intelligence exchange between Hong Kong Customs and its overseas counterparts, including Belgium and UK Customs and the Swiss Police", Mr Tong said.

After intensive investigations based on exchange of intelligence on a suspicious express parcel shipment destined for Hong Kong, Hong Kong Customs officers mounted a controlled delivery operation yesterday.

The drugs, which had been ingeniously concealed inside seven aquarium purifiers, were delivered to Hong Kong by express parcel shipment from Belgium.

In the operation, Customs officers arrested two men, aged 30 and 34, in Western District at 8.30pm; and another two men, aged 23 and 26, in the Kwun Tong District at 9.30pm. All the arrested persons are being detained for further investigations.

The Head of Customs Drug Investigation Bureau, Mr Ben Leung, said, "It is believed that the trafficking syndicate smuggled the drugs into Hong Kong to meet the rising market demand during the festive seasons. Transnational drug trafficking crimes transcend geographical boundaries and have become more sophisticated. In order to strengthen the fight against narcotics trafficking activities, Hong Kong Customs will continue to be highly vigilant and work closely with other local and overseas enforcement agencies to crack down on dangerous drugs trafficking activities."

In summing up the recent successful anti-drug operations, Mr Leung said that Hong Kong Customs officers had seized 10.3 kilograms of cocaine, with the retail value of $10.2 million, at the Hong Kong International Airport on December 4.

Turning to a joint project between Hong Kong and Shenzhen Customs codenamed Operation Tsunami during May to October, Mr Leung said that the operation had led to the arrest of some 20 persons (including seven Hong Kong residents) and the seizure of several million dollars worth of dangerous drugs.

He warned that under Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, the maximum penalty for the offence of "trafficking in dangerous drugs" is life imprisonment and a fine of $5 million.

Ends/Thursday, December 9, 2004

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