Customs seizes $1.9 million worth drugs

8 Apr 2005

Hong Kong Customs officers yesterday (April 7) cracked two drug-trafficking cases in the airport seizing 5.4 kg cannabis resin and 4.1 kg ketamine with total retail value of about $1.9 million.

A Nepalese man, a Malaysian man and woman, aged between 30 and 35, were arrested. Under detention by Customs pending further investigation, they will be charged later with trafficking in dangerous drugs.

Yesterday (March 7) afternoon, Customs officers of Drug Investigation Bureau raised suspicion over a Nepalese man, who had arrived in Hong Kong by circuitous routing (from Nepal to Hong Kong via Bangkok, Thailand). After collecting a baggage which had reached Hong Kong on April 6, the man went through Customs clearance of the baggage.

After search, Customs officers found from a concealed compartment at the bottom of his traveller's bag 5.4 kg cannabis resin with retail value of about $480,000. A 35-year-old Nepalese man was arrested. It is believed that the drugs syndicate attempted to evade Customs investigation by circuitous routing.

Subsequently, Customs officers from Airport Command and Drug Investigation Bureau cracked another drugs case in an operation code-named "Bayonet" at 6.30 pm. They seized from a 34-year-old Malaysian man and a 30-year-old woman, who had arrived from Kuala Lumpur, 28 bags of ketamine weighing 4.1 kg in total. The seizure could fetch about $1.4 million in the retail market.

The seizure was concealed in aluminum packs, some of which were labeled coffee.

"So far this year, Customs officers have seized 98.8 kg ketamine, representing more than 20-fold increase comparing to that in 2004, " a spokesman for Customs and Excise said today (April 8).

"To clamp down on drug-trafficking, Hong Kong Customs officers will continue to conduct vigorous law enforcement actions, and maintain intensive intelligence exchange with other jurisdictions," he added.

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

Ends/Friday, April 8, 2005

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