Hong Kong customs officers have arrested a 17-year-old schoolboy for drug trafficking after seizing more than HK$4 million (US$509,680) worth of narcotics hidden in sacks of dog food from Spain.
Officers at the airport’s cargo terminal had selected a parcel for a routine check after it arrived in the city on Monday. The package was declared as containing electronic watches, with nine boxes bundled together and two of them carrying sacks of dog food.
“During the inspection, 10kg of suspected ketamine was found in the six sacks [of dog food]. The haul has an estimated street value of HK$4.3 million (US$548,000),” said Chow Wing-cheong, a senior officer from the airport wing of customs’ drug investigation bureau.
Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team.
Customs officers posing as delivery workers carried out a controlled delivery of the parcel on Tuesday afternoon to a Lai Chi Kok industrial unit, where the 17-year-old secondary student was arrested. The schoolboy was the alleged consignee of the parcel.
Chow said an initial investigation suggested the suspect was recruited with a monetary reward to collect the parcel. The Post learned the teenager was paid HK$20,000.
The teen was detained on suspicion of trafficking in a dangerous drug – an offence punishable by up to life in jail and a HK$5 million fine.
As of noon on Wednesday, the suspect was still being held for questioning at the customs headquarters in North Point and had not been charged.
Authorities are trying to track down the tenant of the Lai Chi Kok flat and the individual who had hired the teen.
Separately, police arrested 114 people and seized HK$278,000 worth of illegal drugs in a three-day anti-narcotics operation across the city that ended on Tuesday.
During the operation, 103 suspects among the group were also fined HK$5,000 each for breaching social-distancing rules.
According to the force, the detainees – 70 men and 44 women – were held on suspicion of trafficking in a dangerous drug, possessing drug-taking instruments, selling alcohol without a liquor licence and drinking liquor on unlicensed premises.
Seizures of five major illegal drugs in the city – cocaine, cannabis, crystal meth, heroin and ketamine – more than doubled to 10,627kg last year from 4,678kg the year before.
Local authorities confiscated 3,296kg of ketamine last year, up by nearly 600 per cent from 471kg in 2020.
More from South China Morning Post: