The number of young people arrested with drugs at border checkpoints doubled in the first 11 months of the year, compared with the same period last year. The Customs and Excise Department made the announcement yesterday as it prepared to step up inspections over the Christmas and New Year holidays. The figures showed that 42 people aged 21 or under were arrested at checkpoints for drug offences from January to last month, compared with 21 last year. There were a total of 207 arrests in the first 11 months. Customs' drug investigation bureau chief John Lee Cheung-wing said the bureau was concerned about the trend, and that some young offenders did not realise the seriousness of the crime. 'We found in some cases that young abusers hid the drugs in folded banknotes in their wallets or pockets,' he said. Ketamine remained the most popular drug. Mr Lee said a tougher sentencing scale imposed by the Court of Appeal this year meant a trafficker could face a jail term of two to four years for possession of only one to 10 grams of ketamine or Ecstasy. Customs launched a programme in March to refer young drug offenders, with their consent, to social workers for rehabilitation. Four cases had been referred, Mr Lee said. He said measures in place during the holidays would include more plain-clothes officers and more sniffer dogs at checkpoints. Customs divisional commander Lam Sze-hau, who heads a team that handles 41 sniffer dogs, said 11 new dogs were added after training. They identify various drugs, including ketamine, Ecstasy, heroin and cocaine, said Mr Lam.