Police arrest ring leader and 16 others in Hong Kong drug gang that operated in Lan Kwai Fong

Covert operation was mounted because of increasingly blatant drug pushing in the area earlier this year

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 August, 2016, 10:01am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 August, 2016, 10:01am

Police are hoping a series of raids and arrests will have a notable impact on the supply of illegal drugs in one of the city’s busiest entertainment hubs, after they successfully broke a drug trafficking racket on Friday.

A total of 17 asylum seekers from the Gambia, aged between 22 and 36, were rounded up when more than 100 officers raided nearly 30 locations across the city between Wednesday and Friday. Police said the alleged ringleader, 36, was picked up at his home in Tai Kok Tsui on Thursday and another core figure, 27, was caught in Tsim Sha Tsui on Friday morning.

A source said a further 10 men were still being sought.

Intelligence had shown a syndicate, run by the Gambian gang, had been in operation in Lan Kwai Fong in Central for about a year, usually operating in two groups and two locations – D’Aguilar Street and Wyndham Street – between 10pm and 3am each day.

Describing them as “aggressive and blatant”, a source said each group “had four to five members who played different roles, including a peddler, money-collector, courier and look-out”.

It was understood the gang did not enter entertainment venues to tout for business.

“They only targeted foreigners and English speakers in an attempt to avoid local undercover officers,” another source said.

“We believe [the sale of drugs] in the area will die down for a bit,” the source said, adding that police would closely monitor the situation in case another gang tries to take over.

The arrests were made after the alleged drug traffickers were identified in more than 10 drug transactions with undercover agents in the nightlife venue in the past five months. Under surveillance over the past few months, the gang could carry out a transaction in every 15 minutes in each site over the weekend, a source said, believing it was the first major undercover operation against a drug racket in Lan Kwai Fong in the past year.

The covert operation was mounted because of increasingly blatant drug pushing in the area earlier this year, according to sources, and that such drug activities were usually carried out in alleyways or under staircases.