Suspected ketamine worth HK$12 million (US$1.55 million) which was disguised as milk powder and airmailed into Hong Kong from the Netherlands, was among HK$14.5 million worth of illegal drugs seized in an anti-narcotics operation.
The haul of 19.2kg of ketamine was found hidden in an air consignment that was selected for inspection after arriving at the airport’s cargo terminal last Saturday, according to customs.
Two local male suspects were also arrested in connection with the case.
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“The consignment was declared to be carrying 49 boxes of milk powder. During inspection, suspected ketamine was found in four of the boxes,” Senior Inspector Joseph Kwok Tsun-ah of customs’ drug investigation bureau.
The arrests were made on Tuesday afternoon when the consignment was delivered to Fanling, where a 30-year-old man arrived to collect four of the boxes that contained the suspected drugs.
Customs officers then tailed him for more than 30km from Fanling to Mei Foo Sun Chuen – a private housing estate in Lai Chi Kok.
When two of the boxes were handed to a 24-year-old man, officers moved in and arrested the two Hongkongers on suspicion of trafficking in a dangerous drug – an offence that carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
In a follow-up raid, officers found another 1.8kg of crystal meth and 700 grams of cocaine in a locker at a mini-storage centre in Cheung Sha Wan.
Kwok said the seized drugs were for local consumption and had an estimated street value of HK$14.5 million.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the two suspects were still being held for questioning and none of them had been charged.
Illegal drugs worth more than HK$550 million were seized at Hong Kong airport’s cargo terminal in the first half of 2020 as coronavirus travel restrictions forced international drug dealers to use airborne shipments rather than human couriers.
Between January and June in 2020, 1.47 tonnes of drugs were seized from air cargo packages mailed into and out of the city, up 127 per cent from 645kg found over the same period in 2019.
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