About HK$43 million (US$5.54 million) worth of methamphetamine, also known as Ice, was found concealed in machinery parts shipped into Hong Kong from Mexico, police said on Monday.
The seizure was made when officers from the narcotics bureau raided a warehouse in Ta Kwu Ling in the northern part of the city and arrested a 41-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman on Saturday.
Chief Inspector Ip Sau-lan of the bureau said the two suspects were using tools to cut a machinery part inside the warehouse at the time of the raid. The drug, in powder form, was found hidden in machinery components such as steel gearings.
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She said officers had to use high-end equipment for about 30 hours to dismantle the heavy machine parts to retrieve the drug and collect evidence. Police have so far found 67.3kg of the drug from some of the parts.
Ip said further seizure could also be made from the remaining components, adding that she believed the consignment was for “local consumption”.
The consignment was shipped from Mexico to Hong Kong in late April. It arrived in the city in June.
Superintendent Raymond Chou of the narcotics bureau said Ice was usually available in crystalline form and it was rarely found in powder form.
“We believe that in powder form, the drug can be compressed into smaller size, so a bigger amount can be smuggled within the same volume,” he said.
He said he believed there would be a procedure to turn the drug into crystal form before circulating it in the underground market.
Chou said the drug concealed in such heavy machines posed a challenge to law enforcers and also made it very difficult to detect.
As of 11.30am on Monday, the two suspects were being held for questioning. Ip said the pair were likely to be charged with drug trafficking and would appear in Fanling Court on Tuesday.
In Hong Kong, drug trafficking carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a HK$5 million fine.
According to the Customs and Excise Department, nearly 1.2 tonnes of drugs worth HK$320 million have been seized at the cargo terminal of Hong Kong International Airport in the first five months of this year, as travel restrictions adopted to control the coronavirus pandemic has forced smugglers to stop using mules.
The seizures represent a 165 per cent increase from 449kg discovered over the same period last year.
In May, customs officers found 217kg of cocaine worth HK$246 million hidden in an aircraft engine shipped from Ecuador in their biggest seizure of the drug so far this year.
More from South China Morning Post:
- Two Hong Kong police officers arrested for possessing HK$12 million in drugs, which the force believes were stolen from record crystal meth haul a week earlier
- Hong Kong police seize 127kg worth of cocaine, ice and cannabis
This article Hong Kong officers seize HK$43 million worth of Ice in machine parts shipped from Mexico first appeared on South China Morning Post