Hong Kong customs officers said they smashed a transnational drug smuggling syndicate on Monday, seizing a HK$30 million (US$3.8 million) stash of cocaine and making three arrests.
The latest operation was the third large cocaine raid mounted by customs this year and the authorities admitted smuggling of the drug was a serious problem.
In the first six months of 2018, police and customs officers seized a total of 355kg of cocaine – almost double the 180kg haul in the same period last year.
The trio will appear at West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts on Thursday morning charged with trafficking in a dangerous drug and manufacturing of a dangerous drug.
The 26kg of suspected cocaine in 36 packs was found hidden in the door rims of a 20-foot container which arrived at Kwai Chung Customhouse Cargo Examination Compound from Colombia on August 22.
Chan Tsz-tat, head of customs’ ports and maritime command, said the shipping document declared the container held 1.4 tonnes of wooden baffles worth about US$2,800.
Suspicious of the origins, weight and value of the declared items, officers examined the container by X-ray and found the colour around the rims of the doors was deeper.
“The items inside the container were just empty wooden boxes of poor quality instead of wooden baffles,” Chan said on Wednesday. “When officers knocked on the doors, the sound was different. The rims were completely sealed and we were not able to find anything. We passed the case to the customs drug investigation bureau for further investigation.”