A village head told police he was given HK$300,000 in cash to store boxes containing 372kg of cocaine on his roof, a court heard yesterday. Pang Yuet-wan, 53, head of Tai Po Tin village in Ta Kwu Ling, appeared in Fanling Court as two more people were arrested in connection with the case - bringing the number to 10. Police also continued their search for a missing man.
Pang did not enter a plea to one count of trafficking in a dangerous drug and was remanded in custody until Monday.
A prosecutor told Principal Magistrate Josiah Lam Wai-kuen that 26 boxes containing the cocaine were found on the roof of Pang's house in Ping Che Road, near the border.
Pang had said under caution that he was storing the boxes for a friend and was to have received HK$5,000 a kilogram, the court heard. An unidentified man had placed the boxes on the roof at the end of February and had given him HK$300,000 in cash.
Lam adjourned the case pending further investigation into the whereabouts of a Dutch-Chinese visitor, Chang Ma-ki, whose reported disappearance on Friday led to the drug seizure, the largest amount of cocaine ever found in the city. He ruled that Pang be held in custody because of the seriousness of the case.
Two men aged 54 and 55 were caught yesterday when officers from the narcotics bureau returned to the village as the hunt for Chang continued in the surrounding area. They were being held for questioning and no charge had been laid.
On Sunday and Monday, police arrested Pang and seven other people, including his elderly parents, wife and younger brother. Pang's parents were released on bail and are to report to police next month.
Five people - Pang's wife, brother, two sisters-in-law and a man arrested on Monday - have been charged with trafficking in a dangerous drug and are to appear in Fanling Court today.
Chang came to Hong Kong with his wife on April 15. Officers said the consignment had been sent to the city by mistake while being rerouted and Chang was believed to have come to negotiate its return.
"It's possible that the rerouting was to evade detection from overseas law enforcers," an officer said. "We are still investigating its intended destination."
Police believe Chang knew where the drugs had been stored.
He was last seen on Thursday when he left his Tsuen Wan flat and went to the village. He told his wife to call police if he did not return by 10pm. "Before he left, he told his wife where he was going," the officer said.
Meanwhile, Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong said his bureau would review its intelligence system to look for loopholes, "but we would not jump to the conclusion that law enforcers could not have seized this cocaine haul if we had not received the missing person report".
Maggie Ng, Clifford Lo and Phyllis Tsang | Apr 28, 2010