$23m ketamine seizure at HKIA
Customs officers yesterday said they seized 196 kilograms of ketamine with a street value of HK$23 million at the airport, amid government concern of a spike in the use of the party drug.
The shipment arrived from Bombay on July 11, with its contents marked as "bags" which roused the suspicion of officers.
It is the second largest ketamine trafficking attempt to be foiled in Hong Kong.
Customs group head (drug investigation) Wong Sui- cheung said usually goods of higher value are transported by air, adding many drug trafficking attempts foiled in the past were from India.
X-rays showed the boxes containing the 196kg of ketamine, 6kg of rice and 5kg of sugar.
Wong said mixing sugar with ketamine increases its weight and is a common practice for street sales.
Group head (air cargo) Wong Hung-san said it is not surprising for drug traffickers to use Hong Kong as a stopover because of its well-developed transportation network.
He said drug traffickers believe that drugs would not be easily seized because of the huge daily volume of air cargo.
But he denied drug dealers are using Hong Kong as an outlet to the rest of the world. "We cannot use only one case to draw such conclusion."
It is believed the city is used as a stopover because goods coming from Hong Kong are not usually deemed to be as suspicious as from places such as India.
He said some of the ketamine may be for local consumption as well, given its large amount.
Customs declined to give details on yesterday's arrest of a 31-year-old local man in connection with the case. So far this year, 300kg of drugs with a street value of HK$50 million have been seized.
Meanwhile, Shenzhen vice mayor Zhou Qinrui said yesterday there is high concern over Hong Kong youngsters taking drugs there.
Zhou said the Shenzhen and Hong Kong administrations have reached consensus to fight drug abuse and that joint actions have been taken recently.
"what both govenments did was effective" he said and he added he did not know wether the hong kong govenment had requested to exstend the detention period of the 100 drug abusers who where released on monday.
cheif secratery of administration herny tang ying-yen said the govenment had not made shuch a request and urged people not to take drugs.