Hong Kong police have arrested two lovers and confiscated HK$20 million (US$2.6 million) worth of suspected heroin in a raid on a public housing flat that was allegedly used as a drug distribution centre.
The 16kg haul brings the total value of illegal narcotics intercepted by local authorities over the past 2½ months to about HK$900 million.
The latest seizure came as police were investigating a local drug-trafficking syndicate that was using a New Territories public housing flat as distribution and storage centre to avoid detection.
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On Thursday, officers from the narcotics bureau laid an ambush outside a block of Tin Chak Estate in Tin Shui Wai before officers moved in and intercepted a man as he left the building.
“A bag carrying 710 grams of suspected heroin was found in a shoulder bag he was carrying,” Senior Inspector Tam Wai-lok said on Friday.
After moving on to the man’s flat in the same building, officers seized another 32 bags of heroin and some packaging equipment.
“In this operation, a total of 16kg of suspected heroin was seized. The haul has an estimated street value of HK$20 million,” Tam said.
He said an investigation showed the flat had been used as a drug distribution centre since the second half of last month.
Police arrested the man and his live-in girlfriend on suspicion of trafficking in a dangerous drug – an offence that carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a HK$5 million fine.
As of Friday afternoon, the man was still in police custody, while his girlfriend had been released on bail pending further investigation.
Among major anti-drug operations this year, Hong Kong customs on Sunday arrested two men and seized HK$32 million worth of crystal methamphetamine hidden inside children’s car seats following a 17-day, round-the-clock surveillance operation involving more than 150 officers.
On February 23, customs officers seized a haul of cocaine valued at HK$126 million hidden in a shipment of South American grapes from Peru bound for mainland China.
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, heroin seizures rose 683 per cent to 368kg in 2020, up from just 47kg in 2019, while seizures of ketamine jumped 71.9 per cent, to 471kg.
The amount of cocaine seized, however, dropped 24.4 per cent to 1,269kg. Local authorities also seized 1,071kg of cannabis last year, a 186 per cent rise from 374kg in 2019.
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