Hong Kong police arrested a garage worker and seized more than HK$12 million (US$1.5 million) worth of illegal drugs when they raided and shut down a new narcotics distribution centre over the weekend.
The ketamine and cannabis haul was discovered on Saturday by narcotics bureau officers investigating a local drug-trafficking gang that was using an industrial unit and a car park space to store and distribute the substances.
Police intercepted a 39-year-old man at a Man Lok Street industrial building in Hung Hom on Saturday night. Officers said they seized 56 grams of ketamine from him.
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The suspect was then escorted to his flat in the same building, where officers confiscated 21kg of ketamine. He was arrested on suspicion of trafficking in a dangerous drug – an offence that carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a HK$5 million fine.
In a follow-up raid at the Sheung Shing Street car park space in Ho Man Tin, police seized another 850 grams of cannabis buds and some bottles of hemp oil.
“During the operation, officers seized about 21kg of ketamine and 850 grams of cannabis products. The haul has an estimated street value of more than HK$12 million,” said Wu Lung, senior inspector from the bureau.
He said an investigation revealed the drug-trafficking syndicate rented the industrial flat last month and used it as a drug distribution centre. He said police were still investigating whether any drugs relating to the venue had been circulated on the market before the raid.
Ng said police successfully prevented this haul of illegal drugs from reaching city streets.
The suspect, who works in a garage, was still in police custody as of Monday afternoon. According to the force, the man was likely to be charged with drug trafficking.
The latest seizure brings the total value of illegal narcotics intercepted by local authorities over the past 2½ months to more than HK$900 million.
Among the major anti-drug operations this year, Hong Kong customs seized a haul of cocaine valued at HK$126 million hidden in a shipment of South American grapes from Peru bound for mainland China on February 23.
And on February 3, police made their biggest-ever seizure of ketamine, finding a 682kg stash with an estimated street value of HK$437 million inside a Kwai Chung warehouse. The drugs were shipped from Pakistan in packages labelled as macaroni.
According to official statistics, ketamine busts rose 71 per cent to 471kg in 2020, up from 274kg in 2019. Local authorities seized 1,071kg of cannabis last year, a 186 per cent rise from 374kg the previous year.
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