Hong Kong police have seized HK$14 million (US$1.8 million) worth of cannabis during a raid on a village house, with officers suspecting the travel restrictions imposed amid the coronavirus epidemic might have driven drug dealers to grow marijuana at home. Officers on Tuesday arrested two men, both aged 34, at a two-storey Lantau village house while seizing about 529 cannabis plants and 4.65kg of the drug, closing down the second indoor marijuana farm in two days. Some plant-growing and packaging equipment was also seized. “Police do not rule out the possibility that due to the entry restrictions, criminals will expand or set up illegal cannabis-growing facilities in Hong Kong,” Senior Inspector Wu Lung of the narcotics bureau said. He was referring to the restrictions imposed on travellers from around the world amid the coronavirus outbreak, which were further tightened in Hong Kong from Tuesday midnight by barring non-residents from entering the city and quarantining all other arrivals. Wu said police would enhance intelligence gathering and step up enforcement against such illegal activities. Officers intercepted the two men at around 4pm on Tuesday when they were about to leave a house at Shap Long Chung Hau village off Chi Ma Wan Road on Lantau Island. Hong Kong police seize 1,600 cannabis plants worth US$3.8 million “The bedrooms on the ground and first floors were used to grow cannabis plants,” Wu said. “Solar lights and fertilisers, which were used to speed up plant growth, were also seized.” He said most of the plants were almost fully grown and would soon be ready to harvest. Police believed the finished products were for local consumption and would have been sold online. Although investigations revealed the pair had rented the house more than a year ago, Wu said officers were looking into how long they had been producing cannabis. The two men were also living in the house. The suspects were arrested on suspicion of cultivating cannabis plants – an offence that carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in jail along with a fine of HK$100,000 under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance. Trafficking in a dangerous drug carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Hong Kong police seize HK$35 million worth of cannabis plants As of Wednesday afternoon, the two men were being held for questioning and no charges had been laid. Wu said an investigation was ongoing and further arrests were possible. On Monday, police closed down another indoor marijuana farm, raiding a village house in Tai Po. A man and a woman, aged 35 and 23 respectively, were arrested, and 14 cannabis plant and plant-growing and packaging equipment were seized. Police said the haul had an estimated street value of HK$2.4 million. Local authorities seized 402kg of cannabis across the city in 2019, down 21.9 per cent from 515kg in 2018. Purchase the China AI Report 2020 brought to you by SCMP Research and enjoy a 20% discount (original price US$400). This 60-page all new intelligence report gives you first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments and intelligence about China AI. Get exclusive access to our webinars for continuous learning, and interact with China AI executives in live Q&A. Offer valid until 31 March 2020.