HK$11m worth of crystal meth imported into New Zealand disguised as chicken stock

Customs intercepted package from mainland Chinaafter X-ray showed “inconsistencies” in 10 cans of chicken stock

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 March, 2017, 2:57pm
UPDATED : Friday, 24 March, 2017, 3:28pm

A Hong Kong man has been sentenced to more than 10 years in jail in New Zealand for importing crystal meth with an estimated street value of NZ$2 million(HK$10.9 million) disguised as chicken stock powder..

Chau Tat-yan appeared in the Auckland District Court on Friday morning for sentencing after New Zealand customs officers confiscated 2kg of the drug and arrested him in the city last year.

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Customs officers at the International Mail Centre at Auckland Airport intercepted a package from mainland Chinaafter an X-ray showed “inconsistencies” in 10 cans of chicken stock in July 2016, according to New Zealand Customs.

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The authority said plastic bags containing methaphetamine, also known as crystal meth or “Ice” were hidden inside the tins.

An investigation linked the package to Chau, who had gone to New Zealand as part of a tour group from Hong Kong in mid-June last year but did not leave with them.

Customs officers executed a search warrant at an Auckland address where Chau was staying and arrested him.

Customs investigations manager Bruce Berry said criminals use different methods to try to trick the authority, but are doomed to fail.

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“The knowledge and skill of our frontline officers and the targeting tools in place means customs is pretty good at identifying what looks suspicious, making the drug seizure, and connecting the package to those responsible,” he said.

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A Hong Kong government source said crystal meth had an estimated street value of about HK$350,000 per kilogram in the city but it could be sold for several times more in Australia and New Zealand.

He said the drug could be bought illegally for as low as HK$50,000 per kilogram from illegal drug labs on the mainland.