300kg haul of cocaine found in NT house
A village head and his family members in Fanling are being investigated after police found about 300 kilograms of cocaine worth HK$300 million in his house - the largest seizure of the drug in the city in years.
Officers from the New Territories South regional crime unit yesterday forced open the three-storey village building in Tai Po Tin village in Ping Che Road after watching it for two days during an operation to find a man who had been reported missing days ago.
But they did not find the man, and instead a police sniffer dog found the haul, which was stored in dozens of boxes.
Police estimated the high-quality drug was worth about HK$300 million on the street.
In 2007, customs seized 160 kilograms of cocaine with a street value of HK$110 million, and in 1998 156 kilograms worth HK$180 million were found at the airport.
The missing man, a Hongkonger who had lived in the Netherlands but returned to the city recently, had told his family he was going out to collect money. He reached the block by taxi and asked the driver to call police if he did not return, handing him HK$500 as a fare. The cabbie called the police after he disappeared.
Villagers said the village head, who was in his 50s, lived on the top floor of the building with his wife and two sons, aged about six and 10.
The middle floor is occupied by the village head's younger brother, who is mentally retarded, and had recently married on the mainland. The ground floor is occupied by his parents, in their 80s.
A police spokesman last night gave no details about the case, saying an investigation was under way. An officer on the case said police would release details later. The block was cordoned off and police were still searching for the missing man.
The city's last large cocaine haul was reported in August when the police narcotics bureau seized 34 kilograms of the drug - with a street value of HK$28.1 million - in a flat on a private estate in Ma On Shan.
The drugs were found a day after officers discovered new tactics where drug dealers used storage lockers to sell cocaine. Cubes of the drug were wrapped in plastic and placed in small boxes in lockers, where buyers went to collect them.
A core member of a trafficking syndicate was arrested, and officers mounted an operation that found a drug storage, processing and packaging workshop in a flat.
The drugs seized, according to police, were believed to be smuggled into the city from the mainland and destined for distribution via the city's entertainment venues.
In 2004, police netted another big cocaine haul after seizing 21.5 kilograms of the drug in Mong Kok.
It was believed to be the largest seizure of cocaine destined for local consumption. A 32 year-old man arrested for drug trafficking was sentenced to 16 years in prison the following year.
Police have made one of the largest cocaine seizures in the city in years
The number of kilograms that were found in the New Territories village was: 300