CHAN Shui-kee, 51, wiped his grubby hands and smiled. After weeks of secret talks and precision planning, the family man of limited means yesterday saw to the destruction of his employer's property worth more than $10 million. The final resting place for hundreds of kilograms of hard drugs seized every year in Hong Kong is a filthy, flaming Kwai Chung furnace, usually filled with tonnes of the territory's rotting rubbish. Mr Chan is the officer in charge of the Police Drug Disposal Unit. And as convener of the official Board of Destruction, he is tasked with ensuring millions of dollars worth of drugs literally go up in smoke once a month. His operation yesterday began about 9 am when the members of the Board of Destruction, Superintendent Chik Ki-yan, Chief Inspector Bill Coalter and Mr Chan, met in a Narcotics Bureau strongroom at Police Headquarters. Fifteen hessian sacks, containing 1,163 sealed packets of heroin, cannabis, ''ice'', cocaine and numerous varieties of pills, were emptied and their contents checked against an official register. Two hours later, Mr Chik, seconded from the Criminal Intelligence Bureau to be honorary board chairman for the day, and Mr Coalter, of the Commercial Crime Bureau, rode an elevator to the ground floor with their illicit cargo. Opposite the car park reserved for Commissioner Li Kwan-ha, four labourers threw the drugs into a police van as uniformed officers armed with revolvers and one wielding a shotgun stood by. ''The security is necessary in case there is an incident on the way. We are ready for a small war,'' boasted Mr Chan. The heroin alone, all 26,102 grams of it in yesterday's batch, has a Hong Kong street value of more than $10 million. There were also quantities of raw opium, prepared opium, opium water, opium dross, thousands of pills and a kilogram of cannabis, all of it seized before it could fuel the needs of the territory's drug addicts. ''I hope for the day when we will not have to do this work, when there are no drugs around,'' said Mr Chik, a former Narcotics Bureau officer, as the police van sped past Kowloon slums where the heroin now fetches almost $400 a gram. ''When you see all the drugs before they are destroyed, you can't help thinking about the children being destroyed by the drugs on the streets.'' The police van, followed by another vehicle carrying four armed officers, pulled into the entrance to Kwai Chung's stench-filled incineration plant and the hessian bags were hauled out and heaped on a slab of concrete. The claws of a giant bulb-shaped steel scoop picked up the bags and ascended 100 metres to a hopper. Then they were unceremoniously dumped into piles of rotting refuse and burned in a white-hot furnace. ''Now it's ashes and smoke, it can't harm anyone,'' said Mr Chan. Narcotics Bureau Staff Officer Clive Tricker, who has previously been on the Board of Destruction, said the experience was one he would always remember. ''It is a very apt end to it all,'' he said.