Fire smokes out sleeping drug maker

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 December, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 December, 2001, 12:00am

A man who fell asleep while manufacturing ketamine in his Quarry Bay flat was arrested after firemen came to investigate smoke pouring from his kitchen.

A 4.49kg supply of the drug, valued at $3.2 million, was found on the premises.

Chong Kai-hoi, 46, of Nam Fung Sun Chuen, was jailed yesterday for six years and eight months.

Chong, who admitted manufacturing a dangerous drug, was arrested on December 23 last year, just days after ketamine had been reclassified under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance.

The drug was developed as a horse tranquilliser but has an hallucinogenic effect on humans. It has surged in popularity, especially in the 'rave' party scene. Chong was the first ketamine manufacturer to be taken to court since the drug was reclassified.

The Court of First Instance heard that Chong fell asleep while two large beakers were heating on a gas stove in the kitchen of the 13th-floor flat. Firemen switched off the stove, woke Chong and notified the police, who arrived minutes later to arrest him.