MORE than a tonne of herbal cannabis has been discovered in undergrowth on Lantau Island following a seven-month operation by the Narcotics Bureau. The 1,118 kilograms of cannabis, with a street value of $67 million, was discovered on Monday afternoon. It was concealed in plastic bags and boxes in remote Sek Tsai Wan, Chi Ma Wan Peninsula, in southwest Lantau. It is the first time a haul has been discovered dumped for collection in bushes as traffickers try to find new ways to ship consignments into the territory. Fifty police were deployed to search several kilometres of coastline after information indicated a shipment had been landed. The large area involved meant police were unable to locate the narcotics without a day's search, which ruled out lying in ambush for anyone collecting the stash. Although no arrests were made, Narcotics Bureau staff officer Detective Superintendent Chris Cantley said a major local cannabis trafficking syndicate had been severely dented. ''We regard it as one of the largest cannabis smuggling syndicates in Hong Kong who will now be desperately short of money,'' he said. Mr Cantley said police knew who the syndicate bosses were and were compiling evidence against them. He admitted a likely triad connection. He doubted that the seizure, the largest since May 1992 when 1,163 kg was discovered in Stanley, would push up the retail price of $60 a gram, despite it being the second seizure of more than a tonne in a month. Its wholesale value is about $10 a gram. But he did say it highlighted the growing local market for cannabis, which he claimed was fuelled by Western influence. ''In the last decade, cannabis trafficking has become more syndicated and organised along the lines of heroin,'' he said. ''Ten years ago the seizure of 10 kg was exceptional, and a tonne unthinkable.'' One-kilogram slabs of the drug had been compressed, vacuum wrapped and stored in plastic bags and boxes. Detectives believe it may have come through China from Thailand and shipped into Hong Kong by a fishing vessel. They said it was likely to have been hidden for one or two days. Mr Cantley estimated that the consignment could have supplied all the cannabis smokers in Hong Kong for about two weeks. Last year, 457 kg of herbal cannabis was seized in the territory compared with 2,983 kg in 1992. The only other seizure this year was one tonne discovered being smuggled in by boat four weeks ago. The record haul was 1,400 kg in Tuen Mun in 1990.