Seizures of Ecstasy soar 1,250pc this year

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 July, 2007, 12:00am

Seizures of Ecstasy shot up more than 1,250 per cent from January to May compared with a year earlier, while seizures of another illegal party drug, ketamine, dropped more than 90 per cent.

Police and customs officers seized nearly 41,000 Ecstasy pills, up from barely 3,000, but only 34kg of ketamine, compared with 380kg in the first five months of last year.

Officials attributed the phenomenon in part to illegal-drug takers switching from taking ketamine to using Ecstasy.

Seizures of methamphetamine, or Ice, rose even more, by 2,250 per cent, but from a low base of just 2kg in January to May last year.

Security chief Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong said authorities were concerned about the worrying level of drug abuse by young people.

Mr Lee said there was no evidence either drug was being manufactured in Hong Kong. 'Police and the customs department will step up enforcement action to try to prevent imports of these drugs. The police will step up enforcement action in vice spots to discourage people from taking drugs,' he said.

Despite the fall in ketamine seizures, Mr Lee said it was evident ketamine and Ecstasy remained the most popular drugs with young people.

He said public service announcements had been produced to get the message across to young abusers to avoid drugs. Police were working closely with social workers and teachers to try to educate children and teenagers about the dangers such drugs posed to their physical and mental health.

The minister was speaking after a meeting of the Fight Crime Committee, at which the latest crime figures were discussed.

Overall crime rose 3.9 per cent in the first five months of this year compared to the same period last year, with 33,877 incidents reported.

Domestic violence cases continued to climb, with 3,049 cases being reported in the period, compared to 1,436 in the first five months of 2006, an increase of 112.3 per cent.

Mr Lee said the increase was probably a result of improved reporting mechanisms and better support from social workers.


Provisional figures on drug seizures by police and customs officials between January and May, and the increase over the same period last year

Heroin 18kg up 80%

Cannabis 228kg up 714%

Methamphetamine 47kg up 2,250%

Ketamine 34kg down 91%

Cocaine 9kg up 50%

Ecstasy 40,878 tablets up 1,249%