Alleged drug courier arrested after tip-off

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 May, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 May, 2010, 12:00am

An alleged drug courier with a kilogram of high-grade ketamine in two vacuum-sealed bags evaded detection on both sides of the Lok Ma Chau-Huanggang border crossing before he was arrested yesterday, the second such case in four weeks.

The 44-year-old man, who had apparently put the drug in bags to foil sniffer dogs, was caught as he tried to board a bus on the Hong Kong side.

The ketamine, with a street value of HK$119,000, was found in a shoulder bag he was carrying.

Officers from the border district special duty squad began investigating the case after they received a tip-off about a month ago.

'Intelligence indicated that a drug courier left for the mainland through the Lok Ma Chau checkpoint between 4am and 5am and returned to Hong Kong two or three hours later,' Inspector Lau Po-wah, of the border district police, said.

A team of officers, led by Lau, waited for the man, who is unemployed, to return through the checkpoint yesterday after he left for Shenzhen shortly after 4am. He was arrested when he returned to Hong Kong at 7.15am.

'The initial investigation indicated that the man was paid HK$5,000 to smuggle the drugs from Shenzhen to Hong Kong,' Lau said.

A man and his girlfriend were arrested and 763 grams of ketamine seized at the same checkpoint on April 15 after a tip-off. Three packages of the drug were found strapped to the woman's waist as they returned to Hong Kong from Shenzhen.

Police are investigating whether the two cases are linked.

Customs officers arrested 20 people and seized 350 grams of illegal drugs at the Lok Ma Chau border checkpoint in the first four months of this year. Officers arrested 86 people and seized 27kg of illegal drugs at the same checkpoint last year.