Two arrested after airport drug find

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 August, 2005, 12:00am

Two Indians were arrested last week at the airport for allegedly smuggling 8kg of ketamine valued at $2.2 million, hidden inside baby powder containers and cleaning products.

The pair will face charges of trafficking in a dangerous drug in Tsuen Wan Court today.

The Indians - a woman aged 36 and a man aged 19 - flew in from Kuala Lumpur late last week and were arrested after customs officers noticed a large number of baby powder and cleaning products in their baggage.

The containers were found to have two compartments divided by a piece of cardboard, with the ketamine allegedly hidden in the bottom of the containers.

Another Indian citizen - who flew in from Singapore - was arrested three weeks ago for allegedly smuggling 2.6kg of ketamine hidden in three pots which also contained food.

The arrests came as the government released figures showing a five-fold increase in the amount of the party drug seized in the first six months of the year.

Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong attributed the increase mainly to more seizures of the drugs. Acting Superintendent Sin Wai-sun of the Customs Drug Investigation Bureau said yesterday that there was a growing trend of smuggling ketamine into Hong Kong.

He said 170kg of smuggled ketamine had been seized so far this year at Hong Kong borders - more than 30 times the 5kg seized for the same period last year.

Fight Crime Committee figures released last week also showed that the total amount of ketamine seized so far this year was 316kg, compared to 53kg for the same time last year.

'We don't believe there is an increasing demand for ketamine in Hong Kong,' Mr Sin said. 'We think the smugglers use Hong Kong as a transit point to smuggle ketamine to the mainland because of our convenient transport system.'

He said that, due to an increase in drug busts by the mainland police this year, the demand for ketamine from other sources had increased significantly. Its estimated cost has risen from $50,000 a kilogram last year to $220,000 a kilogram this year.

The police also arrested two men aged 30 and 57 last Saturday at the Lowu checkpoint for allegedly smuggling Ice and heroin with an estimated value of $250,000.