Ketamine seizures up threefold in Hong Kong

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    [In Hong Kong] Ketamine seizures in the first 10 months of this year surged threefold to 459 kilograms, up 353kg over the same period last year. Cocaine seizures rose 89.2 percent to 112kg, latest figures show.

    Security chief Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong said the high figures were due to abundant supply, adding the government is increasing efforts to attack the source. "The large seizure of ketamine is largely attributed to the stepped-up enforcement action this summer," he said.

    Officers seized about 330kg of ketamine in five large operations between July and October. A large quantity of cocaine was also seized.

    Lee said after attending a Fight Crime Committee meeting yesterday the government is very concerned about youth drug abuse.

    He appealed to Tai Po secondary students and their parents to support the school drug test trial scheme which starts next month.

    He urged them to carefully study the consent letters and sign and return them as early as possible after family discussions.

    On crime in general, Lee said figures have remained stable, with 64,690 cases recorded in the first 10 months, down 0.9 percent from last year. Violent crimes dropped 1.2 percent to 11,879, but others increased.

    They include shoplifting (8,921 cases, up 17.5 percent), criminal intimidation (1,971, up 22.5 percent), blackmail (298 cases, up 20.2 percent), rape (93 cases, up 3.3 percent) and homicide (44 cases, up 29.4 percent).

    Crimes that decreased include criminal damage, burglary, robbery and serious wounding.

    Meanwhile, a 39-year-old local man was arrested at about 3pm yesterday in the departure hall of the airport on suspicion of trafficking 2kg of ketamine with a street value of HK$250,000.

    Senior Inspector (crime) Wong Chi-keung of New Territories South Regional Headquarters, said police had received information in July.

    They had targeted the man - believed to be a key member of a drug syndicate - and arrested him when he went to the airport.

    Wong said police believe the drugs were intended to supply entertainment venues in New Territories South.

    An investigation is underway to trace other members of the gang.

    Diana Lee | Tuesday, November 24, 2009

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