Battle against party drugs moves to discos in TST and Yau Ma Tei

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 January, 2007, 12:00am

Use of party drugs by the young could worsen as ketamine and Ecstasy become even more readily available in entertainment venues in Tsim Sha Tsui and Yau Ma Tei, the head of the Kowloon West crime unit warned yesterday.

Latest police figures show the seizure of ketamine and Ecstasy rose 1.4 and 2.4 times respectively last year from 2005. The number of serious drug offences increased by 19.2 per cent. The figures cover all of Hong Kong, but nearly two-thirds of serious drug offences took place in Kowloon West.

'It is an ongoing war,' Senior Superintendent Edward Leung Ka-ming said. 'We support lawful entertainment businesses and drug-free discos, but we will never tolerate drugs. The problem with the use of soft drugs among youths in such entertainment premises remains high on the list of priorities of police concerns.

'We will put more efforts into dealing with the problem in 2007.'

A police source said young people who used to 'get high' in Mong Kok were flocking to popular discos in Yau Ma Tei and Tsim Sha Tsui.

In what appears to be a change in police tactics, several Mong Kok discos frequented by young people have closed their doors after the Liquor Licensing Board failed to renew their alcohol licences. The source said the board had been briefed by police.

Those closed included two discos on the second and third floors of the Bright Way Tower in Mong Kok Road, where a 13-year-old girl collapsed and died in July after taking a cocktail of Ecstasy and ketamine, and two other discos in the same district.

Police intelligence showed triad groups such as Sun Yee On, 14K and Wo Shing Wo were selling psychotropic drugs in clubs in the area, the source said.

'A triad gang may pay a protection fee to another triad group so that they are allowed to sell illicit drugs in an entertainment premises,' the source said.

It is estimated that drugs supplied by triads are sold in some of the 1,000-odd entertainment venues in Kowloon West.

Arrests for drug offences such as possession increased 25 per cent to 1,871 in Kowloon West last year. Police said most of those arrested were youngsters.