Arrests for drug offences at cross-border checkpoints between Hong Kong and the mainland have risen by 27 per cent, legislators were told yesterday. Figures provided by the Security Bureau showed the number of arrests rose from 114 in 1997 to 145 last year. Most of the cases involved individual use and none involved organised crime, the bureau said. Although lower drug prices on the mainland might prove attractive, the bureau said severe penalties still deterred offenders. Police and Customs held regular forums with mainland counterparts to exchange information on cross-boundary drug issues, it said. The report also said the number of soft-drug abusers in Hong Kong increased by 49.6 per cent between 1994 and 1999. The most common soft drug was cannabis, followed by 'ice' and Ecstasy.