Hong Kong police seize 1,600 cannabis plants worth US$3.8 million in New Territories raids

Christy Leung

Hong Kong police seized more than 1,500 cannabis plants worth nearly HK$30 million (US$3.8 million) and arrested four men during two drugs raids in the New Territories on Friday.

Officers stormed a three-storey residential building in Sheung Shui’s Ping Che Village, and another two-storey building in Pat Heung’s Lui Kung Tin Tsuen at around 4pm.

Some 1,300 marijuana plants were seized in the first unit, and another 300 plants in Pat Heung, and police believe the gang had rushed to harvest the plants to meet festive demand.

Senior Inspector Wong Chi-man of the Narcotics Bureau said officers also found ventilation systems, timed lighting tools and plant nutritional solution in the “greenhouses”.

“We believe they were all controlled by the same syndicate, and that we broke up the indoor marijuana farms before the drug syndicate sneaked the narcotics onto the market,” Wong said, adding the suspects claimed to have bought the marijuana seeds online.

Officers recovered 1,600 cannabis plants weighing around 150kg. Photo: Jonathan Wong

She said the herbs weigh around 150kg and had a market value of HK$29.5 million.

The farms had operated for several months as it took up to four months to grow a cannabis plant.

The four men, aged between 31 and 53, were said to be “farmers” and had been detained for questioning.

Among them was a 31-year-old from mainland China with an expired visa, who came to Hong Kong on a two-way permit.

Overall, police and customs officials seized a total of 211kg of cannabis in the first 11 months of this year, down by 55 per cent from the previous year.

Manufacturing cannabis or any other drug included in the city’s Dangerous Drugs Ordinance is a serious offence in Hong Kong.

Any person who cultivates any plant of the genus cannabis faces a HK$100,000 fine and 15 years in prison. Trafficking the drug to Hong Kong can also result in a prison sentence.

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