Hong Kong authorities are investigating a potential new trend of drug dealers soaking wood with liquefied methamphetamine to smuggle the banned substance into the city.
The inventive method for hiding the drugs came to light about a week after officers seized more than HK$170 million (US$21.9 million) worth of illegal narcotics hidden inside soft-drink bottles, during a raid on a factory in Fanling.
Superintendent Alan Chung on Thursday revealed the new tactic after officers arrested two men and seized 3kg of wood suspected to have been soaked with liquefied meth, also known as crystal meth or Ice, along with 600 grams of cocaine, in a residential unit in Tsuen Wan on Monday.
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“We believe overseas drug dealers use a chemical method to soak Ice into wood, and then make furniture to be shipped into Hong Kong,” Chung said.
He said local drug dealers then broke the furniture into pieces and extracted the drug from the wood.
“It is the new and innovative method to conceal the drug,” Chung said.
Police were still working with government chemists to see how much Ice could be extracted from the wood, which a police source said was believed to have been from a table.
The source said he believed dozens of grams of Ice could be extracted from the wood.
“We don’t rule out the possibility it was an experiment by drug dealers to see whether such a drug-trafficking method could work,” he said.
“We will exchange information and liaise with other law enforcement agencies over such tactics.”
One of the two suspects, aged 52, who was charged with drug-related offences, appeared in Kowloon City Court on Wednesday, according to the force.
The case was adjourned to October 28 and the man was remanded in jail. The other man, 34, was released on bail.