Narcotics police have made the biggest single seizure of the party drug ketamine since it was classified as a dangerous drug in December 2000. Detectives believe they have smashed a major drug syndicate in West Kowloon after seizing 15.4kg of the drug worth more than $5 million. A 42-year-old man was arrested in Tsim Sha Tsui on Friday and charged with trafficking in the ketamine. He also faces a second trafficking count related to 102 grams of 'ice' and is due to appear in court tomorrow. The arrested man is suspected of operating a drug storage centre in Chatham Court, Tsim Sha Tsui. He was allegedly found with most of the ketamine in a suitcase. Police said the ice was found in a flat in the building. Chief Superintendent Ip Lau-chuen of the Narcotics Bureau warned that the seizure showed there was huge demand for ketamine and he stressed it would continue to be one of the main targets of police anti-drug operations in light of its growing popularity among young people. Mr Ip said ketamine replaced Ecstasy as the most popular soft drug last year and accounted for 60 per cent of cases of abuse. He said young people preferred ketamine because it provided users with a quicker hit than Ecstasy. Thailand and the mainland are believed to be the main exporters to Hong Kong. Police have warned that recently seized ketamine contained only about 50 per cent of the drug and had been mixed with other substances. Two years ago ketamine was typically 90 per cent pure or more. A total of 88kg of ketamine was seized last year, and up to March this year 33.6kg was seized. Chinese University anatomy professor Alfreda Stadlin, who is an expert in drug studies, said ketamine induced a near-death experience, but warned that it could cause permanent brain damage, affecting the memory and cognitive functions.