Housewives accused of smuggling Ecstasy pills

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 June, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 June, 2004, 12:00am

A drug-trafficking gang allegedly recruited two housewives as couriers to smuggle $6.65 million worth of the party drug Ecstasy into Hong Kong from Europe, police said yesterday.

Chief Inspector Tam Siu-on of the Narcotics Bureau said the suspected couriers, aged 41 and 59, were intercepted and arrested after they arrived from France and collected their luggage at the airport's arrival hall on Tuesday.

They were charged last night with one count of trafficking in dangerous drugs. They will appear in Tsuen Wan Magistrates Court today.

'Four bags containing 70,000 tablets of high-quality Ecstasy were found hidden inside the secret compartments of [the] two [bags],' Chief Inspector Tam said.

'Carbon papers were found inside the secret compartments. We believe that the papers were used in an attempt to escape detection by X-ray machines.'

Police said the two women had travelled across Europe by train before ending up in France.

Senior Superintendent John Ribeiro said it was the largest seizure of Ecstasy in a single operation this year.

The Ecstasy was apparently destined for entertainment venues such as nightclubs and karaoke parlours in Kowloon West.

He believed police had struck a heavy blow to the drug-trafficking ring.

In two previous operations in Yau Ma Tei and Sha Tin in February, officers arrested six men and seized 37,000 Ecstasy tablets, 2,610 tablets of another party drug, nimetazepam - also known as Erimin-5 - 540 grams of cannabis and $160,000 in cash.

In the first five months of the year, police seized 117,682 Ecstasy tablets.

There were 142,912 Ecstasy pills seized in the whole of last year.

Mr Tam said the increase was the result of their successful operations.