Customs smashes a transnational syndicate

5 Aug 2005

Hong Kong Customs smashed a West Africa based transnational drug trafficking syndicate and seized 4.4 kilograms of high-graded heroin, worth about $1.7 million, in the past two days (August 3 and 4).

A Liberian man and two Filipino women, aged between 23 to 46, were arrested.

They will be charged with "trafficking in a dangerous drugs" and will appear in Tsuen Wan Magistrates' Courts for mention tomorrow (August 6).

On August 3, Customs officers intercepted a 42-year-old Filipino woman arriving from Bangkok at the airport. They found from the false compartment of her suitcase 2.2 kg high-graded heroin.

In a controlled delivery operation mounted subsequently, Customs officers intercepted another Filipino woman, aged 46, at a hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui and found from her suitcase another 2.2 kg high-graded heroin.

Investigation showed that the latter woman, who had also arrived from Bangkok, intended to meet with the first arrestee for drugs delivery.

Yesterday (August 4), Customs officers arrested a 23-year-old Liberian man in the same hotel when he collected the two pieces of luggage containing the drugs from the two women.

"Intelligence reveals that West Africa based syndicates have been actively involved in smuggling heroin from Southeast Asia to Hong Kong, most of which were destined to the Mainland," the Head of Customs Drug Investigation Bureau, Mr Ben Leung said today (August 5) during press conference.

However, he added that there was no increasing demand for heroin in Hong Kong.

"Although traffickers may take advantage of Hong Kong's convenient location and excellent transport network to smuggle drugs, Hong Kong Customs is confident in preventing Hong Kong from becoming a drugs trafficking transit point, given our stringent enforcement actions and with the help of advanced technology," he said.

He reiterated that Hong Kong Customs would continue to strengthen co-operation and intelligence exchange with the Mainland and overseas law enforcement agencies with a view to containing transnational drug trafficking activities.

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, August 5, 2005

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