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Drugs

Woman, 27, arrested by Hong Kong customs over HK$430,000 crystal meth haul

Authorities are investigating if she was hired by a cross-border drug trafficking syndicate

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 January, 2018, 5:36pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 January, 2018, 5:36pm

A woman was on Wednesday arrested at a border checkpoint in Hong Kong on suspicion of smuggling more than HK$400,000 worth of crystal meth into the city.

At around 4am, the suspected drug courier, 27, was intercepted by customs officers at Lok Ma Chau while returning from Shenzhen.

Sources said she left for the mainland on Tuesday night.

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“Two bags carrying about 1kg of the drug Ice [or crystal meth] were found hidden in her underpants. The haul had an estimated street value of HK$430,000,” a government source with knowledge of the matter said.

He said he believed the consignment was for local consumption.

“After the Christmas and New Year holidays, there may have been a shortage of illegal drugs in the underground market,” the source said, suggesting the items found on the women were to resupply users.

Another source said the suspect might have thought she would come under less scrutiny when crossing the border in the early hours.

He said customs officers were investigating whether she was hired by a cross-border drug trafficking syndicate. They were also searching for her associates.

At about 8am, the woman was escorted, hooded and handcuffed, to her public housing flat in Cheung On Estate, Tsing Yi for a house search. No further seizures were made.

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On Wednesday afternoon, the suspect was being held for questioning and had not been charged.

An investigation by officers from the Customs Drug Investigation Bureau is under way.

Separately, at about 1am on Wednesday, police arrested a man, 31, and seized 375 grams of suspected cocaine with an estimated street value of HK$450,000 on Pok Chuen Street in Sha Tin.

Officers from the Sha Tin police district are handling the case, and the Hongkonger is being held for questioning.

In Hong Kong, trafficking in a dangerous drug carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a HK$5 million fine under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance.

According to official statistics, local authorities seized 192kg of crystal meth and 301kg of cocaine in the first 10 months of 2017. In the same period in 2016, 348kg of crystal meth and 536kg of cocaine were uncovered.

Meanwhile cannabis seizures rose by 237 per cent to 757kg in the first 10 months of 2017, compared with 224kg in the same period in 2016.