Hong Kong police seized HK$650 million worth of cocaine and cannabis in the biggest haul uncovered this year, South China Morning Post reports. Authorities arrested four men aged 25 to 32 on suspicion of drug trafficking.
Confiscated in a three-day-long operation, which concluded last Friday, the Hong Kong narcotics bureau seized a whopping 592kg of suspected cocaine and 91.2 kilograms of cannabis buds, worth the equivalent of $82.97 million U.S. dollars.
There are dozens of lists online of the wackiest places people smuggle drugs, everything from breast implants to sharks. This haul included a relative of the latter. Much of the substances were hidden in boxes of frozen fish to avoid detection, as the odor could help mask that of the cannabis buds (obviously, it didn’t work).
“The cannabis flower buds seized this time were stored among frozen fish,” Chief Inspector Charm Yiu-kwong said in a press briefing. “We believe the drug cartel used this method … in an attempt to cover up the odor of marijuana with the frozen fish’s pungent smell.”
According to Senior Inspector Law Kai-yin, the bureau ran an ambush against a drug syndicate on Wednesday at two industrial buildings in Kwun Tong, on How Ming Street and Wai Yip Street. They stopped a 32-year-old man, a construction worker with the last name So, leaving the industrial unit on How Ming Street. They discovered 120 packs of cocaine, each weighing 1kg, and arrested him for alleged drug trafficking, Law shared.
The maximum sentence for drug trafficking in Hong Kong is life imprisonment.
Additionally, the police stopped a pair of men, one 25-year-old with the surname Chan and another 31-year-old named Leung. They led them to 91.2kg of cannabis at the Wai Yip Street warehouse. The two men, one a kitchen worker and the other in construction, were also arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking. After searching different warehouses nearby, assumed to be controlled by the same group, the detectives seized 472 packs of cocaine, each weighing 1kg.
The fourth man arrested is 32-year-old Chong, who is currently unemployed. Authorities snatched him as he tried to flee Hong Kong. Allegedly, at least some of the four men are associated with a triad drug trafficking group and are scheduled to appear at Kwun Tong Magistrates’ Courts on Saturday.
Hong Kong authorities are trying to establish a connection between another case, two weeks ago, which involved 227kg of cocaine and led to the arrests of 10 suspects. On Thursday, Hong Kong customs officials arrested a 20-year-old man on suspicion of trafficking after finding about 3kg of suspected cocaine and 26g of alleged crack cocaine at an apartment in Tai Koo, estimated at HK$3.3 million.
As the bureau’s Senior Superintendent Chan Kong-ming said, Hong Kong is currently turning up the heat in efforts to crack down on drug arrests, with particular attention to cocaine. “Recently, the production of coca leaves in South American countries has continued to increase, resulting in a corresponding reduction in the cost of manufacturing cocaine,” he said, South China Morning Post reports. “The narcotics bureau has stepped up intelligence gathering on the risk of more cocaine flowing into Hong Kong due to the fallen prices.”
However, with the air of a publicist, Chan continues that drug smuggling and use in Hong Kong was “by and large under control” and did not expect an upwards trend locally.
Back in 2020, the Chinese government imposed the draconian National Security Law (NSL) on Hong Kong with what has been called “devastating consequences for human rights.”