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Thursday, Dec 08, 2022

Drug traffickers out in the cold as HK customs seizes HK$46m of ‘ice’ hidden in transformers

Customs seized 76kg of suspected methamphetamine worth HK$46 million hidden in cargo containing electric transformers last Thursday, marking the third case of its kind this year.
According to Lam Kai-shan, senior inspector of the customs' cargo examination unit, officers inspected an air cargo consignment, declared as carrying transformers, arriving from Mexico en route to Australia via Hong Kong at the airport.

Yet, officers raised their suspicions after an X-ray scanning, which revealed the poor structure of the transformers and missing parts, including coils. Officers also found signs of welding and uneven painting on the surface of the transformers, drawing speculations that the transformers were not the products of some big brands.

The recipient was an Australian company, but the cargo was addressed to a house, which was not a commercial correspondence.

It took officers around two hours to unpack the cargo and unscrew the three transformers, only to find 45 bags of suspected methamphetamine weighing around 76 kg within, with an estimated value of HK$46 million.

Lam said the drug syndicate took advantage of the complicated structure of the transformers and carefully hid the drugs inside to confuse law enforcement officers.

Leung Kwok-wai, a senior investigator of the customs' drug investigation bureau, said it is the third case of its kind busted in Hong Kong this year, where the drugs are hidden in electrical transformers sent as cargo from South America.

He continued customs seized 3.4 tons of drugs from January until now, seeing an 8 percent increase compared with the 3.15 tons recorded in the same period last year. Methamphetamine, commonly known as “ice,” accounts for the majority, with about 1.1 tons seized.

Customs said investigations are ongoing.

They warned trafficking in dangerous drugs is a serious offense, and the maximum penalty upon conviction carries a HK$5 million fine and life imprisonment.
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