Customs officers on Tuesday seized HK$25 million (US$3.25 million) worth of suspected liquid cocaine concealed in wine bottles at Hong Kong International Airport, the government said on Thursday.
An arriving female passenger, who travelled from Sao Paulo, Brazil via Doha, Qatar, was arrested when approximately 15kg of the illegal drug was discovered inside the 28-year-old woman’s suitcase during a customs inspection. An investigation is ongoing.
Earlier this month, customs officers made their largest airborne drug bust this year, bagging about HK$45 million worth of various drugs and arresting a male suspect. The haul included about 31kg of liquid cocaine that was found concealed in 45 red wine bottles during an inspection of an air cargo consignment arriving in the city from the United States on September 7.
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A further probe led to the arrest of a 40-year-old, with another 910 grams of ketamine and 520 grams of methamphetamine discovered at the suspect’s home in Yau Ma Tei.
The value of the drugs seized on Tuesday would make it the third-biggest bust this year.
Under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, trafficking in a dangerous drug is punishable by a fine of up to $5 million and life imprisonment.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, only Hong Kong residents can enter the city, and all arriving passengers are subject to compulsory quarantine at home, in hotels or at mandated government-run facilities.
Customs said it would continue to scrutinise passengers based on risk assessments, targeting arrivals from high-risk regions to combat transnational drug trafficking.
Illegal drugs with a total estimated street value of more than HK$550 million were seized at Hong Kong airport’s cargo terminal in the first half of this year, as coronavirus-related travel restrictions forced international syndicates to use airborne shipments rather than human couriers.
More from South China Morning Post:
- Hong Kong customs finds 7.7kg of cocaine in shipment of biscuits after X-ray reveals sweets contained more than just chocolate
- Hong Kong customs officers find nearly US$32 million worth of cocaine packed in jet engine shipped from South America
- Man arrested at Hong Kong International Airport with HK$3.3 million in cocaine concealed in secret compartment of suitcase
- Five suspected drug traffickers arrested in Hong Kong and HK$35 million worth of crystal meth, ketamine and cocaine seized in four separate busts
This article Hong Kong customs seizes 15kg of liquid cocaine hidden in wine bottles at airport first appeared on South China Morning Post