HK$56 million cocaine haul in noodle-making machines stirs Hong Kong customs to seek help
Mainland Chinese and South American authorities enlisted to track down members of international drug trafficking ring
The seizure of HK$56 million (US$7 million) worth of cocaine concealed in four noodle-making machines has prompted Hong Kong customs officials to seek help from their mainland Chinese counterparts and South American authorities to track down members of an international drug trafficking ring.
Initial investigation showed the four new devices were delivered by plane to the mainland from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, before being smuggled into Hong Kong, the Post has learned.
Two of the noodle-making machines concealing a combined 30kg of cocaine were found in a Chai Wan industrial unit on March 2. Three South American women were arrested on March 2 and 3.
Across the harbour, customs officials found 26kg of cocaine hidden in the other two machines during a raid on a Tsuen Wan industrial unit on March 7.
On Thursday, a 31-year-old Hongkonger was arrested at Hong Kong International Airport when he returned to the city from Japan.
By noon on Friday, the man, a driver for a logistics company, was still being held for questioning and had not been charged.
Describing the two consignments as among the city’s largest drug seizures, a customs source believed the haul worth an estimated HK$56 million was smuggled into Hong Kong by the syndicate for local consumption.
“We are now working closely with our mainland counterparts and Brazilian authorities to find out the smuggling mode and route, and track down members of the syndicate,” he said.
Officers from the Customs Drug Investigation Bureau were handling the case.
Separately, Hong Kong police arrested another local man, 46, and seized 11.8kg of suspected cocaine after intercepting a car on Canal Road Flyover in Wan Chai at about 8pm on Thursday.
Police said the haul had an estimated street value of HK$12.4 million. The suspect was being held for questioning, with Narcotics Bureau officers handling the case.
According to official statistics, local authorities seized 402kg of cocaine last year, down 14.6 per cent compared with 471kg in 2016.