Angler nets cannabis haul valued at $1.35m

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 March, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 March, 2003, 12:00am

An angler made an unexpected catch when he reeled in a haul of cannabis worth $1.35 million, police said yesterday.

The 20-year-old man hooked a travel bag containing 15kg of the drug as he fished off Hunghom ferry pier late on Thursday night.

He caught the bag and reeled it into shore after spotting it floating off the pier in Wah Shun Street. He called police when he unzipped the bag and found the cannabis inside.

The drugs were stacked in 16 plastic bags and were soaked through, according to an officer at Hunghom police station. If the drugs had been dried out they would have had a street value of $1.35 million.

A government source said each gram of cannabis could be sold for between $25 and $90 in the underground market.

One kilogram of cannabis is worth about $15,000.

The source said more than half of the cannabis seized in Hong Kong came from the Golden Triangle through the mainland.

Police said they would try to collect fingerprints from the travel bag and wrapping.

'We are looking into all possible clues,' an officer said. 'It is possible that drug smugglers hurled the bag into sea before their boat was intercepted by Marine police, or it may have accidentally fallen into water while being unloaded from a boat.'

The latest police figures show that 827kg of cannabis was seized last year, compared with 2,105kg in 2001.

The total number of serious narcotics cases recorded last year dropped 9 per cent compared with 2001.

Police say the popularity of cannabis has been overtaken by rave party drugs such as Ecstasy and Ketamine.