Teenagers held in swoop on drugs party

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 January, 2009, 12:00am

Thirteen drug users and traffickers, some as young as 13, were arrested at a suspected ketamine party at a public housing flat in Ho Man Tin.

The nine males and four females, mostly teenagers, were arrested when officers raided the flat in Yat Man House, on the Ho Man Tin Estate, late on Friday night. They seized 200 grams of a substance believed to be ketamine. Police said the drugs would be worth about HK$40,000 on the street.

It is the second such operation by police since more than 70 suggestions were put forward at a meeting of an inter-departmental taskforce on youth drug abuse in November. One suggestion was for a voluntary drug-testing scheme in schools.

In a police raid on another public housing flat in Tuen Mun in November, 10 suspected drug users, most under 18, were rounded up and 60 grams of ketamine were found.

The latest case was part of an operation against triads and drug problems in Kowloon City. The operation, mounted by officers from the Kowloon City intelligence unit, began at 9pm on Friday and ended before dawn yesterday.

During the operation, police arrested three men aged between 19 and 22 and found a small quantity of illegal drugs in a raid on a cybercafe in South Wall Road. Officers also raided a nearby garage in Nam Kok Road. Four males and a female, aged between 15 and 29, were arrested for claiming to be members of a triad society or possessing offensive weapons.

Inside, officers seized a small quantity of illegal drugs and confiscated a knife, a baseball bat, four golf clubs and a torch.

In Hung Hom, police arrested two suspected drug traffickers aged 26 and 41 in Cooke Street.

Nine of those arrested are students, and police are investigating whether any of them had been recruited as drug traffickers.

A police spokesman said: 'The operation targeted the income of triads and also combated juvenile drug problems in the district.'

In another operation, Tuen Mun police arrested two men aged 21 and 25 and found HK$38,000 worth of suspected ketamine outside a village house in Tuen Mun San Tsuen in Lam Tei Main Street, at about 10pm on Friday. Inside they seized some packaging equipment.

John Lee Cheung-wing, head of the Customs Drug Investigation Bureau, said traffickers attempted to smuggle drugs into Hong Kong by various means. 'The methods include a body-packed method, concealment inside luggage, internal body concealment and the sending of air cargo.'

Mr Lee said the department would step up inspection at various checkpoints, especially during festive seasons like the Lunar New Year, to stop illegal drugs being trafficked into Hong Kong. Between December 6 and 30, customs officers at Chek Lap Kok airport detected seven drug smuggling cases, arrested six people and seized HK$2.94 million worth of illegal drugs.

Figures from the Central Registry of Drug Abuse showed that the number of reported abusers under the age of 21 increased 18 per cent to 2,729 in the first nine months of last year compared with the same period in 2007.

High yield

In 2007, customs officers seized 27kg of ketamine and 26kg of heroin

The amount of ketamine seized last year was: 334kg

The amount of heroin seized last year was: 48kg