HK$1.3 million drug bust: Two Colombian men may face life sentence in Hong Kong

Customs officers in anti-narcotics operation seized 1.25kg of illegal drugs including suspected cocaine

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 September, 2016, 2:15pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 September, 2016, 2:15pm

Two Colombian men could face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment after being arrested by customs officers over the seizure of illegal drugs with an estimated street value of HK$1.3 million in Hong Kong.

The two men, aged 30 and 33, were intercepted by customs officers in Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan, during an anti-narcotics operation at about 4pm on Tuesday. Officers found a small quantity of drugs on one of them.

The pair were then taken to their flat on the same street, where officers confiscated 1.25kg of suspected cocaine along with a small amount of suspected crack cocaine and cannabis. “The market value of the drugs was about HK$1.3 million,” the Customs and Excise Department said.

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At around 1am on Wednesday, the hooded suspects were escorted out of the flat and taken to the customs headquarters in North Point, and by noon on the same day, they were still being held for questioning.

The drugs were believed to have been smuggled into Hong Kong from South America by couriers who used internal concealment to elude detection.

Officers believed the flat was used as a drug storage and distribution centre where cocaine was mixed with chemical additives and made into crack cocaine before being distributed to the city’s entertainment spots.

The two men who claimed to be unemployed were arrested on suspicion of trafficking a dangerous drug, according to customs. Under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, trafficking a dangerous drug carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a HK$5 million fine.

Separately, police nabbed a man, 34, and woman, 46, and seized HK$340,000 in cash along with illegal drugs that were worth an estimated HK$530,000 in Tai Kok Tsui on Tuesday night.

Officers arrested the two Hongkongers after intercepting their car in a car park in Fuk Lee Street at about 8pm on Tuesday and seizing about 70 grams of suspected crack cocaine on board the vehicle.

In a follow-up search, officers confiscated 414 grams of suspected cocaine, 26 grams of suspected crack cocaine and 10 grams of Ice along with the money and packaging equipment in a nearby flat.

Figures showed the amount of cocaine seized across the city rose by 143 per cent to 445kg in the first seven months of this year from 183kg in the same period last year.