HK customs officers arrest ex-bank manager, seizing HK$11 million worth of cocaine

23-Jan-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Hong Kong customs officers arrested a former bank manager on Monday night following the seizure of HK$11 million (US$1.4 million) worth of suspected cocaine.

Initial investigation showed the 32-year-old man had recently been fired after debt collectors went to his office to demand payment, according to a law enforcement source. The suspect was a senior manager in a Hong Kong bank before being laid off.

The insider said it was possible the suspect had been forced to work as a drug trafficker to repay his debt.

Customs officers also found the suspect’s flat in Grand Waterfront housing estate had been used as an illegal drug storage centre and for the production of crack cocaine.

The suspect was arrested at about 8.30pm on Monday as he was leaving the private housing estate on San Ma Tau Street, To Kwa Wan. Customs officers found 650 grams of suspected crack cocaine in the rucksack he was carrying.

He was brought to his flat for a follow-up raid. Inside, officers seized 2.55kg of suspected crack cocaine and 4.8kg of cocaine, along with packaging equipment.

“About 3kg of the cocaine was found hidden in three cans of milk formula placed in a cabinet in the living room, while another 2.55kg of suspected crack cocaine was found to have been scattered on the wooden bed in a bedroom,” the source said.

“Inside the bedroom, the air conditioner was turned on. We believe the crack cocaine was left there to dry after cocaine was mixed with chemical additives such as baking soda.”

He said no clothes or bedding items, like sheets or pillows, were found in the flat.

Assistant Superintendent Ip Kwok-leung, commander of customs’ drug investigation division, said the haul had an estimated street value of HK$11 million. He said an initial investigation showed the drugs were for local consumption.

As of noon on Tuesday, the suspect was being held at the North Point headquarters of the Customs and Excise Department for questioning and had not been charged.

In Hong Kong, the retail price of crack cocaine recently increased to nearly HK$1,650 a gram from HK$1,400 a gram on the underground market, according to another source.

He said the supply of the drug had fallen because of enhanced law enforcement action, and this led to the rise in price.

According to official statistics, local authorities confiscated 537kg of cocaine in the first 10 months of 2018, a 78.4 per cent increase compared with the amount seized in the same period of 2017.


Category: Hong Kong

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