Hong Kong customs nab HK$2.5m haul of ketamine 'smuggled from mainland'

Officers smash in car windows to make arrests outside village house in New Territories

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 May, 2014, 1:58pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 May, 2014, 8:46am

Customs officers smashed in the windows of a car in order to arrest two men inside before a HK$2.5 million haul of ketamine was uncovered in a New Territories village house near the border and Mai Po nature reserve on Tuesday night.

The department believes the drugs were smuggled into Hong Kong from the mainland.

Plain-clothes officers camped out at Mai Po San Tsuen off Castle Peak Road near Yuen Long from about 6pm on Tuesday after receiving a tip-off that the village house was being used as a drug packaging and distribution centre.

Two hours later, a black seven-seater car drove in and parked outside the house. There were two men inside the car.

The driver went into the house before returning to the vehicle minutes later, customs officers said.

They intercepted the car as it tried to drive off. The two men locked the doors and refused to get out, according to the department.

“As repeated warnings were ignored, officers smashed the car’s windows and arrested [the men],” Calvin Chan Ching-yuen, acting head of the department’s drug investigation group, said.

Officers found 250g of ketamine on the driver’s person, the department said.

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In a follow-up search of the house, officers seized 20kg of ketamine and packaging equipment together with several kilograms of chemicals inside one of the bedrooms.

“Chemical additives are used to mix with the drug to increase the volume,” Chan said.

Chan said the haul had an estimated street value of HK$2.5 million and was for local consumption.

“We believe the consignment was smuggled into Hong Kong from the mainland,” he said.

According to customs, drugs were being packaged in the village house before being delivered to entertainment venues.

Chan said an initial investigation showed the two Hongkongers aged 29 and 31 were members of a drug-trafficking syndicate and worked as couriers.

“We are still investigating how long the syndicate had been in operation,” he said.

The two suspects were still being held for questioning on Wednesday afternoon. Neither has been charged with any crime.

Seizure of ketamine fell 66 per cent to 245kg last year from 724kg in 2012.

It was the most abused psychotropic substance among reported drug abusers last year, according to the Central Registry of Drug Abuse, run by the Security Bureau’s narcotics division.

The figures showed that the number of ketamine users dropped by 15 per cent to 2,814 last year from 3,301 in 2012.