HK-financed syndicate smashed this week was the biggest in southern hemisphere, investigators say Police across the region are gearing up for more arrests in connection with the massive Hong Kong-financed drugs syndicate smashed in Fiji on Wednesday, investigators said yesterday. So far 14 people linked with the $4.38 billion crystal methamphetamine operation have been arrested in Fiji, Hong Kong and Malaysia, including seven Hong Kong citizens. Tony O'Connor, the Australian who heads Fiji's customs service, said the drug-making operation was the biggest of its kind discovered in the southern hemisphere, with far-reaching tentacles. 'There are links with transnational crime syndicates in other countries,' he said. 'There will be more arrests in the next 24 to 48 hours.' Mr O'Connor declined to say where the arrests would be made. He revealed that several Hong Kong members of the syndicate may have slipped the net when more than 60 police from Fiji, Australia and New Zealand raided homes and warehouses in the Fijian capital, Suva. 'There may be some who were lucky,' he said. The factory could churn out 1,000kg of ice in two weeks. The raids were the culmination of a 14-month operation in which Fijian investigators collaborated with Hong Kong authorities through the Australian Federal Police. Fijian customs and police officers spent yesterday questioning the four detained Hong Kong citizens, who are believed to have been living in Suva for some months. Under Fijian law they must be charged within 48 hours of being arrested and are likely to appear in court today. The group is believed to have had links with local ethnic Chinese businessmen, including one who allegedly rented the warehouse in which the methamphetamine, the popular party drug known as 'ice', was being produced. The drugs were destined for Australia, New Zealand, the US and Europe. Further arrests in Fiji were possible, Mr O'Connor said. The discovery of the sophisticated drug-making laboratory on an industrial estate on the outskirts of Suva confirms Australia's worst fears that South Pacific island nations are seen as a soft touch by international drug traffickers. 'They may feel that countries like Fiji are a bit lax in law enforcement and that using Fiji as a country of origin may have expedited their shipments around the world,' Mr O'Connor said. Australia's Justice Minister, Chris Ellison, said huge amounts of amphetamine drugs had flooded into Australia. 'This is not the first time that we've had large seizures in the South Pacific. But of course the more they try to manufacture the drug and import it illicitly into Australia, the more we'll be there to intercept it,' Senator Ellison said. New Zealand police were beginning the dangerous task of dismantling the laboratory, which contains highly unstable chemicals.