HK customs officers seize $30 million worth of cocaine and arrest two suspects in third major bust in two months

29-Apr-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Hong Kong customs officers have seized HK$240 million (US$30.5 million) worth of cocaine in a series of raids on a four-star hotel room and two flats that led to the arrest of two male foreigners, law enforcement sources said on Friday.

The amount of cocaine captured on Thursday night which said to be at least 250kg was the biggest haul of the drug made by local customs officers in seven years, and is the third major cocaine bust in just two months.

Law enforcement sources would not confirm the citizenship of the suspects, describing one as Eastern European and the other as from Australasia.

Taken together, the last three large cocaine seizures in Hong Kong amount to nearly 700kg already much more than the total amount of cocaine confiscated in the city in all of 2018.

On Thursday, more than 100kg of cocaine was found hidden in an upscale Yau Ma Tei hotel room and dozens more kilograms were discovered in a high-end flat in Tsim Sha Tsui, a source told the Post. The rest of the cocaine was seized in a flat in To Kwa Wan. In one swoop, Hong Kong police top 2018′s entire cocaine haul, arresting three men

The source said an initial investigation found that the suspects had stayed in the hotel and the luxury flat separately after they arrived in Hong Kong about a month ago.

“A preliminary investigation showed the two suspects were hired by a drug trafficking syndicate to guard the drugs, and the hotel and the two flats were used as storage centres,” the source said.

He said the gang used three different locations to store the drugs in an attempt to minimise their loss if one of the warehouses was uncovered by law enforcement officers.

“During the operation, officers seized several suitcases that were believed to have been used to deliver the drug among the three storage centres to evade detection,” the source said.

When customs officers detained one of the suspects in To Kwa Wan on Thursday he was carrying about 50kg of cocaine in a suitcase and a backpack.

At the same time, the other suspect was intercepted near the luxury estate in Tsim Sha Tsui.

“We believe the drug came from South America and was shipped into the city,” a separate source said. Customs officers were still investigating how the drug was smuggled into the city. The source said it was possible the cocaine was destined for another country, possibly Australia.

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“We believe this was the first batch for the syndicate and it was confiscated before it was distributed on the underground market,” he said.

As of 6pm on Friday, the two men were being held for questioning and had not been charged.

The anti-drug operation on Thursday was second carried by customs officers this month. On April 4, customs officers arrested a local man and seized 91kg of cocaine with an estimated street value of HK$100 million during a raid on a flat in Sha Tin.

The sources said the authorities were investigating whether the two cases were linked.

More details of the operation will be announced by customs officials on Saturday.

In February, Hong Kong police officers seized 350kg of cocaine and 2kg of crack cocaine with an estimated street value of HK$380 million.

The three big cases yielded about 691kg of cocaine. Police and customs officers seized 604kg of cocaine in 2018, up 174 per cent compared with 220kg in 2017.


Category: Hong Kong

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