Police on Tuesday revealed a "rare" and unusual way cocaine was recently smuggled into Hong Kong. They said traffickers brought the drugs into the territory by soaking them in absorbent paper, concealing them in photograph albums and then mailing them.
The unusual method of concealment was discovered after officers arrested two men and seized two kilograms of cocaine in a Mong Kok apartment on Monday night.
Police said the haul had an estimated street value of HK$2.5 million. Officers believe the cocaine was intended for the local market.
Narcotics Bureau senior inspector Cheng Ka-chun said the absorbent A4-size paper was just like a kitchen towel and could contain about 30 grams of cocaine.
”The absorbent paper [soaked with cocaine] was hidden between two photographs of plants or stones and then laminated,” he said.
Cheng said the laminated photographs were used to make an album and sent into Hong Kong as airmail packs.
“We believe the concealment method was to contain the strong sour smell of the drugs and prevent leakage,” Cheng said. “This could stop the drugs being picked up by sniffer dogs.”
The Narcotics Bureau is still investigating the source of the drugs.
After a two-month-long probe, officers raided a residential unit in Tai Kok Tsui Road about 7.30pm on Monday and arrested the two Hong Kong people, aged 27 and 29.
The two men resisted arrest in an attempt to escape, but were overpowered. One officer suffered a minor injury during the scuffle. He was treated at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and later discharged.
Inside, police seized 2kg of cocaine (with an estimated street value of HK$2.5 million), 39 laminated photographs and packaging equipment.
“We believe crack cocaine was made in the unit before distributing it at entertainment venues across the city,” Cheng said.
On Tuesday afternoon, the two suspects were questioned and eventually charged - the 27-year-old with drug manufacturing and the 29-year-old with drug trafficking.
Latest police figures show law enforcers seized 85kg of cocaine in the first six months of the year - a 44 per cent rise from 59kg in the same period last year.