Hong Kong and mainland Chinese authorities have arrested 11 people after discovering that a date-rape drug was being smuggled into the city from Guangdong province and sold through an online sex shop.
Three men were detained in Hong Kong on Tuesday, following a raid on a drug distribution centre in Guangdong’s Qingyuan city where eight mainlanders – four men and four women – were arrested.
In Hong Kong, police seized HK$724,000 (US$93,380) worth of the suspected liquid date-rape drug and medication for impotence in tablet and powder form.
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Chief Inspector Cheung Wai-ho of the cyber security and technology crime bureau said on Thursday police had spotted online messages by criminals touting the date-rape drug and claiming it could produce delirium and memory loss.
Cheung said the force teamed up with authorities across the border to investigate after finding a mainland connection over the source of the drug.
“Investigations revealed a mainland criminal gang distributed the drug to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan,” he said.
The gang’s Hong Kong partners touted for business through the online sex shop.
Police suspect the chemical involved was gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), a clear and odourless psychoactive substance popular as a party drug. Users experience feelings of euphoria and reduced inhibitions but stronger doses can cause sleepiness, confusion and dizziness.
Chief Inspector Chiew Tsi-huen of the New Territories South regional crime unit said three local men, all aged 28, were identified in the investigation.
He added that two of the suspects were business partners in the online sex shop, which was allegedly used to collect orders, while the third man was said to be responsible for deliveries.
Following the eight arrests in Qingyuan on Monday, Hong Kong police swooped on Tuesday afternoon.
The first suspect was picked up outside the office of a delivery company on Tai Nan Street, Mong Kok, after leaving a parcel there. Inside the package, officers found two bottles of suspected GBL in liquid form and a drug to treat impotence.
In follow-up raids, officers arrested the two business partners in Tseung Kwan O and Kwun Tong. Police also raided a warehouse in Kwai Chung, where about 800 bottles of suspected GBL were seized along with impotence drugs.
The three men were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to traffic in a dangerous drug and selling a banned drug without a prescription.
Officers were investigating the quantity of drugs sold through the online shop.
Cheung warned teenagers to be on their guard if offered drinks and food by strangers. He said the cyber world was not a lawless place and police would continue to gather intelligence to combat illegal activities.